The phrase “show your stripes” means to show one’s true self, or act in a way that’s in accordance with one’s beliefs. Well, the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, one of East Africa’s oldest conservation organizations, is both literally and figuratively showing their stripes through their most recent animal rescue. Posting on their official Facebook page, they shared the story of Diria, a baby zebra who had just lost his mother to a passing pride of hunting lions.
In the post that has since garnered 12K likes, they detailed the rescue mission that allowed them to save the sweet zebra foal from a terrible fate. Apart from providing the young zebra with milk and a warm place to sleep, they also provide him with a “mother figure” during the day. Of course, the baby’s real mother can never be replaced. Instead, the conservation’s keepers will wear a custom-made made striped coat that Diria will recognize as his mom, thanks to imprinting.
Baby zebras depend on their mother to survive, and therefore, they must be able to recognize her stripes. In order to facilitate this learning process, the mother zebra will separate herself from her baby while it begins the imprinting stage. This means learning to recognize and follow their mother’s coat, smell, and call. Only once the baby zebra can properly identify its mother will they both return to the rest of the herd.
People who saw the post were quite intrigued by the images of the workers wearing suits covered in a zebra-stripe pattern. But of course, the rest of the story is even more incredible.