There is no doubt that Zebras are one of the most attractive species in the animal kingdom; however, baby zebras are even cuter, and a young zebra with white spots would undoubtedly win our hearts.
An unusual polka-dotted baby zebra was sighted in Kenya and quickly captured the internet’s attention. The cute critter has already captured many hearts, and images of it have gone viral.
Antony Tira, a tour operator, and photographer in Kenya’s Masai Mara National Reserve, recently spotted a rare foal with a deep black coat covered in white patches.
After the photographer first observed it, the Zebra’s baby was named Tira. “At first, I believed it was a caught zebra that had been painted or marked for migration purposes,” Tira tells George Sayagie of the Kenyan daily Daily Nation. “I was baffled when I first saw-it.”
The animal appears to have a congenital condition known as “pseudomelanism,” which causes irregularities in zebra stripe patterns, as Ren Larison, a scientist at the University of California, Los Angeles, explains to Katie Stacey of National Geographic. Zebras have dark skin, and their stripes are generated by specialized skin cells called melanocytes depositing melanin into some of their hairs; melanin-containing hairs appear black, while melanin-free hairs seem white. Sometimes, though, something goes wrong and the melanin does not show as stripes.
Melanocytes appear to be distributed appropriately, but the melanin they produce is aberrant in all of these illnesses, says Greg Barsh, a geneticist at the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, explains this to Stacey.
Image credits: Maasai Mara Wildlife Conservancies Association