Kenya is a land rich in diversity. With approximately 52 million people and a million more wildlife individuals, rarity is almost impossible. However, the Kenyan wild seems to be a treasure island that always has something new to display. From rare and endangered species to unique trees, Kenya is truly blessed. Below are four very rare animals that are only present in Kenya, at least as far as photographic evidence goes.
The White Giraffes
In 2017, a pair of white giraffes were spotted and filmed at the Hirola Conservancy, Garissa County. The giraffes, a mother and calf, were diagnosed with leucism as opposed to albinism given their ability to still produce dark pigments in their eyes and parts of their hooves. These pair are reticulated giraffes but without their spots. The giraffes, unlike other rare animals, seemed to fit well with other animals and went on their lives like all others.
The Spotless Cheetah
What is cheetah without its spots? Well, in 2012, Guy Combes, an American photographer was able to capture in film, this rare and magnificent animal. As far as we know, it is the only one of its kind in Athi Kapiti Conservancy, its home. However, the locals and other researchers admit that with over 100,000 acres of wilderness, there could be more spotless cheetahs. The cheetah has a rare skin condition.it can be differentiated from lionesses and other wild cats from the minimal and faded spots that are present on a small area of its back. The sighting was marked as the first in a century.
The Black Leopard
The last black leopard to be spotted before this was in 1909 in Ethiopia and 2013 in Loisaba Conservancy. However, in 2018, a juvenile black leopard female was spotted in Laikipia Wilderness Camp by a series of trap cameras. The leopard was seen moving with a larger leopard believed to be its mother. Black leopards are however not as rare as believed as they make at least 11% of the total leopard population in the world. In Africa however, these leopards stated to have melanism, are rare and sighting one in Kenya was rare and magical. It has been reported that she has now given birth to yet another black cub.
The Polka Zebra
In September 2019, a polka dotted female Zebra named Tira was spotted in the Maasai Mara. Tira made headlines both locally and internationally because of her rare pattern that was different from the rest of her zebra family. Most zebra foals are born white and their stripes begin to develop thereafter. However, for Tira, her stripes chose to be spontaneous and formed a beautiful polka dotted coat for her. Although Tira and her mother later crossed over to the Serengeti in Tanzania, she still remains a celebrated Kenyan jewel.