Rare spotted zebra foal caught on camera by wildlife photographer

WATCH: Unusual plains zebra foal spotted in Kenya's Maasai Mara National Reserve

An extremely rare baby zebra with spots has been spotted in Kenya.

In fact, it was pretty hard to miss with its black coat and white polka-dot spots.

Photographer Frank Liu captured footage of the unusual plains zebra foal last week while he was searching for rhinos in Kenya‘s Maasai Mara National Reserve.

A rare spotted zebra is shown in the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya in September 2019.

A rare spotted zebra is shown in the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya in September 2019.

Frank Liu/Instagram

“At first glance, he looked like a different species altogether,” Liu told National Geographic. He estimates the little guy was approximately one week old at the time.


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The photographer’s Maasai guide, Antony Tira, has named the spotted zebra Tira after himself.

Liu first posted photos of the zebra on Instagram last week, and he says he’s revisited the park to see Tira again since then.

A rare spotted zebra is shown in the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya in September 2019.

A rare spotted zebra is shown in the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya in September 2019.

Frank Liu/Instagram

He’s also been receiving fan art from people who are excited by Tira.

Tira is a melanistic zebra, meaning its stripes did not form properly due to a genetic abnormality that affects melanin production. Young melanistic zebras are spotted in the wild every few years, but it’s extremely rare to see an adult one.


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Some have referred to melanistic zebras as “opposite” zebras. They are distinct from “blonde” zebras, which have yellow stripes caused by albinism.

Each zebra’s stripe pattern is unique, although its evolutionary function is still a mystery.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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