Spotty Distinction

Copyright © Ratish Nair 2020

We seem to have a unique fascination with all things rare. The rarer it is the more attention it gets. When the polka dotted zebra “Tira” took the internet by storm, I wasn’t immune either. My expedition to Masai Mara gave me an opportunity to behold Tira in the flesh, in the wild.

A genetic disorder that affects skin colour typically elicits unnecessary and at times unsavory attention in our so called evolved world. However, a skin condition in the animal kingdom awards this zebra foal with a unique distinctive appearance that is celebrated by us. Tira has a genetic condition called ‘pseudomelanism’ that is responsible for the abnormalities in the stripe pattern.

When I first sighted Tira, he was standing beside his mother. Like all mothers, it was evident that she loved her baby. He seemed to be perfect in her eyes, just the way he was. I chose to capture this moment in a photograph that to me celebrates “difference”.

What captivates me about nature and its’ creative power is that every creation is uniquely beautiful. According to me, Tira is doubly blessed. This unique gift awarded to him by Mother Nature which we have christened as a genetic disorder is truly remarkable, but the similarities are unmistakable too.

While Tira’s spots surely mark him out as a fairly easy target to predators and poachers alike, his“Spotty Distinction” stands out in beautiful contrast to that of his mother’s.

Nature is the ultimate creator. The supreme master.

And the message to me is clear: “Let’s celebrate our differences to create a better world”.

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