On October 3, a viral image of a polka-dotted Zebra photographed in Kenya captured global attention – from Kenya to South Africa and the US.
A photo taken in 2019 at the Masai Mara of a dark Zebra with white polka dots standing next to her mother in regular black and white stripes the species is known for.
The image went viral arousing global attention when it was posted by a Twitter account by the name, ‘fascinating’, followed by a caption,
“A rare polka-dotted zebra foal named Tira, standing close to its mother in the Maasai Mara reserve in Kenya. Photo by Yasuyoshi Chiba.”
The post quickly spread across Twitter and by the time of publishing, it had garnered 158,700 likes, 16,000 comments, and 1,516 quote retweets. Tira the polka-dotted Zebra photographed at Masai Mara in 2019.
“Like Shakespeare said, ‘Nature is above art.'” Celebrated a Twitter user named Kay Rae Comic.
Another passionate wildlife enthusiast used the opportunity to argue that Tira’s condition was proof that Zebras are black with white stripes, a debate that has raged the wildlife verse for years.
“Zebras are black with white stripes confirmed,” posted Joshua Horne.
In 2019 when the first photo of the Zebra was taken, Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) told the international press that no special attention would be paid to the animal.
“KWS operates on the assertion that animals should be in the wild. The zebra is not a special species, it is just a freak of nature.
“It won’t be fair to isolate the animal and from a conservation point of view, that would inhumane. The zebras protect each other and they will be protected on their own. If a predator spots it and preys on it, it will be just the course of nature,” stated KWS.
According to National Geographic, Tira suffers from a condition known as pseudomelanism which causes abnormalities in zebra stripe patterns.
“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,”
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HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology geneticist Greg Barsh told the publication at the time.
The whereabouts of the zebra are unknown as of 2022.