Rare baby zebra born in Masai Mara

On Sunday 15 September, a safari guide came across one-of-a-kind genetically mutated baby zebra in the Masai Mara in Kenya. The guide named the animal after his surname, Tira.

While still resembling a zebra, the foal has a short, hairless tail unlike a normal zebra’s brush-like tail. Most unusually though, the animal’s colouring is brown, with white dotted markings. There’s not a stripe in sight!

Although there are many theories for why zebras have stripes, one theory from research by the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) suggests that the stripes help regulate the zebra’s temperature. And that ‘the amount and intensity of striping can be best predicted by the temperature of the environment in which zebras live.’

Although highly unusual this is not an isolated case. In 2012 wildlife photographer Paul Goldstein photographed a zebra with some elongated spots on its back, also in Kenya. Unfortunately it appeared that that zebra had been ostracized by its herd. Hopefully, this little one will be accepted.

Kenya is known for it’s Great Migration that sees two million animals move from the Serengeti National Park to the Masai Mara, typically between July and August.

Images: Frank Liu Photography

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