Rare Polka-Dotted Zebra Foal Photographed In Kenya



Talk about a horse of another color — last year a zebra foal with a dark coat and white polka dots was spotted in Kenya’s Masai Mara National Reserve. Photographer Frank Liu was on the search for rhinos when he noticed the eye-catching plains zebra, likely about a week old. Antony Tira, a Maasai guide who first spotted the foal, named him Tira. Zebra stripes are as unique as fingerprints, but Tira’s odd coloration could be the first recorded observation in the Masai Mara. Tira has a condition called pseudomelanism — a rare genetic mutation in which animals display some sort of abnormality in their stripe pattern. Zebras also experience other unusual color variations, such as partial albinism, which was seen in an extremely rare "blond" zebra photographed in Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park. Tira’s future is uncertain because most zebras with such unusual coloration don’t survive long because they stand out from the group, making them easy targets for predators. As of July, Tira is still alive and well.