It is timeless knowledge that wild animals have lived alongside human beings. Often keeping their distance from human beings who would either kill them for food or domesticate them. Currently, rapidly increasing human population and subsequent conversion of land for people habitation, industrialization and infrastructure have increasingly threatened the continued survival of wildlife every where on Earth. It is of imperative importance to adjust the extent which we, as humans, threaten wildlife’s survival and allow for their existence in the wild, for a chance of their survival and our survival.
When I was in primary school, I read a short folklore explaining how the Zebra got it stripes and the story went like this…
“Once upon a time lived a zebra in a forest. The zebras alive in that time had dull-looking hides without any feature making them stand out. One day as she was grazing in the forest, she met a hare who was well dressed and seemed to be in a great hurry. Out of curiosity zebra asked the hare where he would be going at that time, all dressed up like a very important person. The hare was happy to explain that he was meeting with his friends monkeys to organise a party. The zebra wanted to attend this party too and started beseeching the hare to allow her attendance. The hare agreed and went on to explain that all attendees would be bringing beautiful costumes to be allowed into the party because no form of ugliness was permitted by the party makers.
Zebra neither had an idea what a beautiful costume for her would come from nor where she could borrow one. She went around her neighborhood asking about it but it was futile.
Exhausted, and anxious she would miss the party, zebra looked for the hare so that she could ask for his counsel. The hare not lacking ideas, said he had a solution for the zebra and would also be generous to this same trick on friends of zebra so that they can also attend the party. The hare and zebra agreed to meet at a location in the forest in the evening of the day of the party. When the day came, zebra and her several friends excited about the party ahead, gathered waiting for hare and his trick for their costume. The hare arrived with two buckets of paint and made the zebras make a beeline to where he stood. With a twig dipped in paint in each hand, hare painted the zebras. As soon as the first two zebra were finished and they beheld the transformation on each other,they were astounded and went ‘wild’ with happiness. They ran towards the entrance of the party where they were admitted jovially and every fellow animal hey met thought the zebras were visitors because they had never seen them before in such attire.
The zebras danced and showed off their new coats in great triumph. The party went very well. In the morning came when the sun came out, the party ended and all animals left for their dens while the zebras passed through the river to wash off their coats. They tried washing and scrubbing each others’ back but the coating would not come off. They got worried and went in search of the hare. It was in the evening that they finally found the hare, and they asked him to help them take off the painted coats, but the hare just looked on sadly. The zebras got agitated and stomped on the ground urging the hare to act fast but the hare still wore his sad face. After some time, the zebras quietened down, and at that moment the hare stood up and said,
“my friends, the new coat cannot come off you. Yesterday, as I painted you, I forgot to mention to you that you would have to take it off before the sun comes so that it can come out but you all ran off to the party before I could.”
No one could help the zebras take off their new coat. With time, they learnt to live with it. And that is how the zebra became ‘the owners of striped coat’.”