The unusual patterns may be because the foal has a case of melanism, which is the opposite of albinism. However, there's no denying that he's completely adorable!
When you talk about being unique, this is what you should aim for. This zebra foal is all kinds of unique because, instead of having black and white stripes, the adorable little foal has polka dots all over him, making him look like a cute deer. The rare foal was captured in Kenya and photos of the adorable creature have gone viral. The unusual zebra was seen in the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya, where photographers Rahul Sachdev and Antony Tira, who is also a tour guide, snapped some photos of him.
Parmale Lemein, a wildlife specialist from the Matira Bush Camp, told the Daily Nation that this was the first such case of a polka dot zebra at the Mara Reserve. The unusual patterns may be because the foal has a case of melanism, which is the opposite of albinism. However, he had some sad news: no similar zebras have survived past six months with such conditions, at least in African parks.
“There are a variety of mutations that can disturb the process of melanin synthesis, and in all of those disorders, the melanocytes are believed to be normally distributed, but the melanin they make is abnormal,” Greg Barsh, a geneticist at the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, says by email. To put an end to the age-old confusion of zebras being black with white stripes or white with black stripes, here's the logic behind it.
Rare baby zebra born in Kenya's Masai Mara. There’s not a stripe in sight! https://t.co/idiwN9V586— Charles Onyango-Obbo (@cobbo3) September 17, 2019
Some scientists say that zebra stripes are formed when there’s an inhibition in melanin production, meaning that the animal is most likely black with white stripes and not the opposite. But, those stripes aren't just there for your eyes. They have a purpose. Of course, we all know that it can get pretty hot in Africa during the summers, so with these stripes, a zebra can actually remain cooler. There are also theories that stripes help zebras hide from potential predators.
A unique spotted zebra foal was first seen on the Maasai Mara Reserve Kenya, by a Maasai guide on the weekend. Named Tira, this zebra will be a star! A very unusual and completely beautiful genetic mutation!— Xpose Trophy Hunting (@XposeTrophyHunt) September 16, 2019
Photo credits: frankliuphotography photo 2&3
RS Photography: photos 1&4 pic.twitter.com/yma71791kH
Some theories also suggest that these stripes help them avoid getting bitten by flies that are known to transmit diseases. According to National Geographic, photographer Frank Liu had also captured a few pictures of the foal. "At first glance he looked like a different species altogether,” Liu says. Antony Tira, a Maasai guide who first spotted the foal, named him Tira. Liu was out there looking for Rhinos to photograph when he came across the unique zebra.
As expected, people were quite amazed by the discovery. Olamerikai Seno wrote: Beautiful, truely an eighth wonder of the world ecosystem. Gurbachan Benawra Kokay added: What would you call it “Spotra” beautiful. Nicholas Kibet posted: A Tapir? In the mara... Time to investigate those hordes of scientists that virtually live in our parks... Shooting 'documentaries'.