A photographer in Tanzania was in for a surprise when he came across an incredibly rare ‘blonde’ zebra.
Sergio Pitamitz, a photographer for National Geographic, spotted a golden-coloured zebra near a watering hole in the Serengeti National Park.
He said: “At first I thought it was a zebra that had rolled in the dust.”
However, on closer examination, he realised that what he was seeing was actually a zebra with partial-albinism.
This means that the zebra has much less melanin than typical zebras, resulting in blonde rather than black stripes.
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 as ‘stallions with harems’, according to Ren Larison, a biologist at the University of California.
However, while mating isn’t 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 colouring, blonde zebras could be susceptible.
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