By George Sayagie
The Maasai Mara is again under focus after another rare zebra foal was spotted in the Mara triangle South West of the reserve bordering Tanzania.
The golden coloured baby zebra has elicited a lot of reactions from social media platforms, three weeks after a polka dotted zebra was spotted in the same reserve.
The rare ‘blonde’ zebra, just like the ‘darker’ one received attention from internet users, tour guides and international tourists who were quick to point out their uniqueness.
“I was the first who spotted the the little baby zebra, and I have given it my second name ‘Manie’,” said Mr John Manie Kipas.
Mr Kipas who works at the Mara West camp at the Mara triangle said he spotted the foal at Ngiro area in the midst of migrating wildebeest and zebras moving toward the Serengeti and he took lots of photos.
The foal has a stripped neck, head, legs and tail but the rest of the body was brownish and similar to donkeys.
“It was a normal morning game drive and that is when we spotted the rare-coloured foal. At some point, I could not believe my eyes. I clicked my camera and got some pictures of it. It looks more like a donkey than a zebra,” said Manie.
He said that since he was the first to spot the foal which he added could be a day old, he named it ‘Maine Zebra’ after himself.
Maine has appealed to authorities to guard the ‘albino’ zebra so that it does not cross to neighbouring Tanzania like the Tira which crossed last week with its mother.
The unique sightings also add to the current unique phenomenon of ‘all-white’ giraffes of Ishaqbini Hirolla Conservancy in Garissa.
According to researches, ‘blonde’ or golden-coloured zebras have a condition known as amelanism.
Amelanism, or amelanosis, is a pigmentation abnormality characterised by the lack of colour pigments called melanin. The condition differs from albinism where there is a complete absence of colour pigments or melanin.
The darker zebra, inhibits melanistic characters, which, according to researches, refer to undue development of dark-coloured pigment in the skin or its appendages and is the opposite of albinism.
Amelanistic animals, however often have health problems ranging from poor night vision to kidney problems. Animals living with amelanism also have high chances of getting skin cancer.
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