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melanistic zebra, Okavango Delta, Botswana
© Michael Fitt

Earlier this month Michael Fitt came across this newborn zebra in the north-western area of the Okavango Delta, in Vumbura Concession. The zebra has a rather amazing dark colour due to a small genetic abnormality linked to the amount of melanin affecting the pigmentation of the fur.

melanistic zebra, Okavango Delta, Botswana
© Michael Fitt

There have been at least three other dark zebras born like this in the area however none of them have reached more than 6 months old with the last foal born of this kind facing its demise to hyenas within a few months.

melanistic zebra, Okavango Delta, Botswana
© Michael Fitt

Unfortunately if you stand out from the crowd you are a target. Due to other abnormalities of this nature some scientist’s claim that zebra’s stripes are formed from the inhibition of melanin and that the “default” colour of a zebra is black. In other words, a zebra is black with white stripes.

melanistic zebra, Okavango Delta, Botswana
© Michael Fitt
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