Lifestyle & Human Interest

Wildlife Rescuer Dresses in Stripes After Baby Zebra Loses Mother


A little zebra named Diria has finally caught a break after experiencing a rather rough start in life.

In February, the baby and his mother were chased by lions, and the mother was killed. Searching for safety, the little colt ran to the closest herd he could find: a nearby herd of goats.

The farmers who had watched the whole thing happen took care of the little zebra and transported him to safety, turning him over to the Voi Reintegration Unit with the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Kenya.

“Little Diria – named after the ranch where he was rescued – arrived into our care at the end of February 2020, fluffy and sporting brown and white stripes and a punk-like mane,” the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust posted on its Facebook page on April 21.

Doctor Delivers Bad News to Biden After He Takes Terrible Tumble at Air Force Graduation

“Since then we have provided Diria with the constant comfort and company (and milk feeds) he would have received from his mother, with our Keepers even wearing a specially made, striped coat when they are caring for him so that he can still imprint, even though a rosta of Keepers provide for all his needs,” it said.

“As you can see, Diria is incredibly affectionate with his carers and it would seem a highlight of his day is nuzzling into them as they comfortingly groom him.”

The stripes are more than a fashion statement — the outfit helps the baby zebra recognize his carers as “mom” without imprinting on one single carer, which (according to the wildlife group’s website) means he’ll be more likely to settle in well when he is released into the wild.

“Zebra foals imprint on their mother’s striped pattern and the coat allows Diria to imprint as nature intended, without him becoming too attached to any one individual,” the website says.

“Diria is incredibly affectionate with his carers and, perhaps with the exception of his milk, loves nothing more than nuzzling into them as they comfortingly groom him.”

“Zebra coats are unique and a baby will imprint its mothers’ pattern so that it can always recognise her,” the wildlife trust shared in an update.

“Just as in the wild, our Keepers maintain close proximity to him at all times, offering personalised pampering sessions, helping to groom him and offering a reassuring presence.”

Baby Bison Euthanized After Clueless Yellowstone Tourist Makes Fatal Mistake

“Thanks to this expert care, he is flourishing and, you’ll notice, his stripes are starting to darken with age – we estimate him to be around three months old.”

They also explained that some scientists believe the stripes also help confuse predators and keep biting flies away.

With all the love and care this little guy has been shown, hopefully he’ll be able to be released back into the wild once he’s big and strong enough.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking