A zebra in the wild lives for about 25 to 30 years, while a zebra at a zoo can live for up to 40 years. Wild zebras must contend with predators such as humans, lions and hyenas. They also do not get services such as medical treatment that zoos provide.

Human behavior, such as hunting, has led to decreased numbers of zebras and shortened life spans. Wild zebras also have diminishing habitats because of human encroachment.

Zebras usually employ a herd defense against predators. When a lion attacks and wounds a zebra, its herd sometimes forms a circle around the wounded animal and tries to fight off the lion.