A zebra – is it black with white stripes or white with black stripes? Well – this has been an age-old question. However, there is no doubt about one thing – zebras are magnificent animals. Treading on the hot land of Africa along with other magnificent creatures, zebras really stand out. Their black and white stripes have inspired the safe ‘zebra crossing’ in human society too. But then, do you want to see a zebra of a different color?
When the term ‘zebra’ pops into your mind – the familiar black and white striped animal will immediately rise up in your imagination. But then, recently, a different kind of zebra was spotted in Kenya – a baby zebra with spots. Of course, this is a rare finding. Once the picture was shared on the internet, it went viral. People were amazed by this picture. Whatever happened to this zebra?
The zebra was discovered in Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya. The photographers, Antony Tira and Rahul Sachdev spotted it and clicked the photos. A wildlife specialist, Parmale Lemein, saw the picture and mentioned that it might be the first case ever spotted. It is quite possible that this zebra has melanism – the opposite of albinism. He also had some terrible news – such zebras may not survive in the hot African climate for more than 6 months.
The reason is that zebras’ color is due to the inhibition of the production of melanin. Which means that the beast is actually black but then, it forms white stripes due to lack of melanin production.
There are two reasons for that – the white parts help them keep cool in the African warmth and it also camouflages them from predators. The color is also designed to keep disease-transmitting flies away from them.
So, despite looking cute and different, this baby zebra with spots will face the harshness of nature. Let’s hope that it can survive it.
Image Credits: Maasai Mara Wildlife Conservancies Association