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Rare Zebra With 'Polka Dots' in Kenyan Wildlife Reserve Has Caught Everyone's Attention

The newborn zebra foal has dotted markings, instead of black-and-white stripes, around its neck and chest. While the back is completely black, there are thin white stripes on its legs.

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Updated:September 19, 2019, 4:01 PM IST
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Rare Zebra With 'Polka Dots' in Kenyan Wildlife Reserve Has Caught Everyone's Attention
Image by Elegant Holiday Tours & Travel / Facebook.

How have we always remembered the zebras’ appearance to be? It’s always about the black-and-white stripes, which is why the ‘Zebra crossing’ is named after that.

However, a rare case in a Kenyan wildlife reserve has surprised netizens as well as researchers. A tour guide, Antony Tira, has spotted a rare polka dot foal at the reserve. The newborn zebra with unusual polka dot markings was photographed near the Mara River in the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya.

The Maasai Mara National Reserve also took to their Facebook page to share the picture of the Polka Dot Foal. They wrote, “The dotted zebra foal which has been spotted in the Maasai Mara Game Reserve causing excitement among tourists.”

The newborn has dotted markings, instead of black-and-white stripes, around its neck and chest. While the back is completely black, there are thin white stripes on its legs.

The photographer and tourist guide Tira said, “At first I thought it was a zebra that had been captured and painted or marked for purposes of migration. I was confused when I first saw it.”

However, he went on to explain that when closely inspected the foal, he realised that the zebra has melanin disorder. Melanism, opposite of albinism, is the development of dark-coloured pigment melanin in the skin. In this case, a melanistic zebra does not have its stripes developed properly, which leaves a pattern of small stripes and spots on its skin.

Parmale Lemein, a wildlife specialist at Matira Camp, added that there has been no recorded case of a zebra with the rare markings in the Maasai Mara. He also added that such cases do not survive for more than six months after birth.

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