The Incredible Rare Zebra in Mara that made busy Mara come to standstill is a newborn foal it was spotted with its mother while grazing in the Mara.
A melanistic zebra is one whose stripes haven’t developed correctly, leaving its coat patched black with white stripes and spots.
It’s not fully black like most melanistic animals rather it looks more like the stripes arose mid-body and were trying to migrate out to the head and feet but the patterns failed to fully appear on its coat.
Due to their unusual coat color they do not survive long in the wild because they are an easy target for predators.
How the Incredible Rare Zebra in Mara was spotted
A photographer at a camp in the Maasai Mara Game Reserve was in for a surprise when he came across an incredibly rare, “blacker” newly born Zebra.
(She’s now known as Mara Princess)
Mr. Antony Tira – A renowned tour guide-cum photographer – at Matira bush camp, spotted and photographed the black dotted foal and posted it on the camp’s Facebook page attracting a lot of social media attention.
“At first I thought it was a zebra that had been captured and painted or marked for purposes of migration. I was confused when I first saw it,” Said Mr Tira.
He said on closer examination, he realized that what he was seeing was actually a zebra with melanin disorder. It was hardly a week old, it appeared weak and very different from the others for it has not stripes and was stuck close to a female adult zebra, probably its mother.
The discovery caused stampede in the reserve with tour drivers and photographers, hurriedly taking tourists to the lookout area in the game reserve near the Mara River for the rare find that has remained the top story in the Mara for the last three days.
Tourists have been flocking like wildebeest crossing River Mara & taking extra clips of this rare holiday experience.
Hundreds of tour vans could not keep calm, they surrounded ( “The Mara Princess”) to take a glimpse of this rare species, according to Mr. Felix Migoya the Mara tour guides and driver’s association secretary, it created “an additional wonder” for international tourists who are in the reserve to for the last moments of the wildebeest migration.
The zebra has a rather amazing dark color due to a genetic abnormality linked to the amount of melanin, affecting the pigmentation of the fur.
According to a wildlife specialist at Matira Camp Parmale Lemein, there has never been any recorded case in the Mara of such a rare zebra.
But he was quick to point out that none of the Zebras with such condition in other parks in Africa, according to research, has survived for more than six months after birth.
Due to other abnormalities of this nature, some scientists claim that zebra stripes are formed from the inhibition of melanin and that the “default” color of a zebra is black. In other words, a zebra is black with white stripes.
Zebras stripes, according to researchers, work to ward off hordes of biting flies that the animals come in contact with on a daily basis and without the protection, such Zebras may be vulnerable.
Animals with albinism have been documented in a variety of other species including giraffes, penguins, orangutans and mice.
A few years ago, at the Serengeti a zebra with blonde, rather than black stripes, was spotted and photographed. It was said to have much less melanin than typical zebras.
Until now, very few blonde zebras have been seen in the wild, although there are a few dozen living on a private reserve in Mount Kenya National Park.
Interestingly, the blonde male zebras at this private reserve behave like “stallions with harems”, according to Ren Larison, a biologist at the University of California.
However, while mating is not an issue for zebras with partial albinism, they could face other challenges.
A recent study suggested that zebras evolved black and white stripes to ward off biting flies, and without this coloring, blonde zebras could be susceptible.
It can only be hoped that the foal survives long enough and continue to attract visitors to the park to have a glimpse of this rare kind.
Unfortunately, in the Natural world, if you stand-out, you are easily a target.