Zebras are undoubtedly one of the most beautiful animal species in the entire animal kingdom. Still, child zebras are much more stunning, and a child zebra with white spots would undoubtedly win our hearts. In Kenya, a polka-dotted child zebra caught the attention of the internet very quickly. Thousands of people have already embraced the animal, and pictures of the lovable creature have gone viral.
Antony Tira, a tour guide and photographer, recently spotted a foal with a deep black coat and white spots in the Masai Mara National Reserve.
It was the same photographer who was the first to notice the Zebra that named the child Tira. Tira tells George Sayagie of the Every day Nation, a Kenyan newspaper, that she first assumed it was a zebra painted for migration purposes. The first time I saw it, confused.”
According to Ren Larison, a scientist at the University of California, Los Angeles, the animal appears to have “pseudomelanism,” a hereditary disorder that causes abnormal-looking stripes. Zebras have dark skin, and the melanocytes, specialized skin cells that transform melanin into some of their hairs, are what give them their stripes. Melanin-containing hairs appear black, whereas those without it seem white. But occasionally, something goes wrong, and there are no melanin stripes.
Stacey is informed by Greg Barsh, a geneticist at the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, that a number of mutations can interfere with melanin formation.
Image credits: Maasai Mara Wildlife Conservancies Association
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