Weird News: Rare polka-dotted zebra foal photographed in Kenya - PressFrom - United Kingdom
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Weird NewsRare polka-dotted zebra foal photographed in Kenya

06:20  19 september  2019
06:20  19 september  2019 Source:   nationalgeographic.com

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Zebras are best-known for their distinctive black and white stripes, but why is this zebra so pale? Hint: It's not an albino.

A newborn zebra foal with unusual polka dot markings has been photographed in Kenya - the first of its kind to be seen in the Maasai Mara National Reserve. The photographs were also shared by well-known blogger Mutuma Untamed, who said the 'week old' foal had been named after the

Rare polka-dotted zebra foal photographed in Kenya © Photograph by Frank Liu

Tira, the spotted zebra foal, may be more suspectible to biting flies without the zebra's trademark stripes.

Talk about a horse of another color—a zebra foal with a dark coat and white polka dots has been spotted in Kenya’s Masai Mara National Reserve.

Photographer Frank Liu was on the search for rhinos recently when he noticed the eye-catching plains zebra, likely about a week old. “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.

Rare polka-dotted zebra foal photographed in Kenya © Photograph by Frank Liu

Tira walks through Kenya's Masai Mara National Reserve with her mother in a recent photograph.

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Newborn foal with rare polka dot markings is seen in Kenya . A newborn zebra foal with unusual polka dot markings has been photographed in Kenya - the first of its kind to be seen in the Maasai A melanistic zebra is one whose stripes haven't developed properly, the Star reported, and instead.

An unusual zebra foal with polka dot markings has been spotted in a wildlife park in Kenya . The newborn is thought to be the first of its kind to be seen in As reported by the Nation, wildlife specialist at Matira Camp, Parmale Lemein said that this case is the first in the Mara of such a rare zebra .

Zebra stripes are as unique as fingerprints, but Tira’s odd coloration could be the first recorded observation in the Masai Mara, according to Liu. Similar foals have been seen in Botswana’s Okavango Delta.

Tira and these other foals have a condition called pseudomelanism, a rare genetic mutation in which animals display some sort of abnormality in their stripe pattern, says Ren Larison, a biologist studying the evolution of zebra stripes at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Zebras also experience other unusual color variations, such as partial albinism, which was seen in an extremely rare "blond" zebra photographed earlier this year in Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park.

Keeping track of such equine aberrations is useful to science as part of a broader goal to monitor changes in species and how they’re managed by local communities.

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The rare polka - dotted zebra is the first recorded case in Maasai Mara National Reserve. The spotted- zebra found in Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya is named Tira. Turns out, that the unusual development of the strips in the foal is due to a condition called Melanism, reports Daily Mail.

A rare polka - dot zebra foal has created a stir online after pictures appeared across social media this past week. The equine oddity was spotted at Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya , and is said to be a first for the park. The freckled foal was snapped last month by tour guide and photographer Rahul

Showing their stripes

Specialized cells called melanocytes produce melanin, the red, yellow, brown, or black pigment that determines hair and skin cell color in mammals.

“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.

In zebras, melanocytes are uniformly distributed throughout their skin, so that a shaved zebra would be completely black. In the case of Tira and other pseudomelanistic zebras, Barsh believes the melanocytes are all there, but the melanin itself, for some reason, does not manifest correctly as stripes.

Tira’s future is likely uncertain—most zebras with such unusual coloration probably don’t survive long, Larison notes. “Research on other species has shown that, while it is harder for a predator to target an individual in a group, it is easier if an individual is different,” she says.

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Taken by photographer Rahul Sachdev, 41, the images show the female zebra and her foal - with a unique spotted coat. The images were taken earlier this month (September) in the Masai Mara in Kenya . The tiny zebra has a distinct spotted patten over its dark coat, unlike most other zebra 's.

A newborn zebra foal with unusual polka dot markings has been photographed in Kenya - the first of its kind to be seen in the Maasai Mara National Reserve.

“I have seen several photos of foals with this specific pattern over the years, but only one photo—from the ‘50s—in which the individual was either a juvenile or adult.”

Hurdles to survival

Unfortunately for Tira, recent research by Larison and others has suggested that zebra stripes evolved to deter against biting flies—one of five theories that have been posed over the years, along with camouflage and temperature regulation. Experiments in the field, for instance, have shown that biting flies don't like landing on striped surfaces.

If that’s the case, Tira won’t be as successful at repelling these flies—which can carry diseases like equine influenza—as a normally striped zebra, notes Tim Caro, a biologist at the University of California, Davis.

However, if Tira can survive these many hurdles and make it to adulthood, there’s no reason to think he can’t fit into the herd.

Research conducted in South Africa has found that in two cases of plains zebras with aberrant coloring, at least, the animals formed normal relationships with other zebras—including mating.

Zebra on the run after escaping a circus shot dead by police in Germany .
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