Rare White Giraffe Spotted In Tanzania

Posted: Jan 27 2016, 2:34am CST | by , Updated: Jan 27 2016, 10:33pm CST, in News | Latest Science News


Rare White Giraffe Spotted in Tanzania
Credit: Derek Lee

The extremely rare giraffe has a genetic condition called leucism in which some of that body cells are incapable of making pigment.

Researchers have found a beautiful, extremely rare white giraffe in Tanzania's park, which might likely be the only one of its kind.

The 15- month old baby giraffe, named Omo, was first spotted at Tanzania’s Tarangire National Park last year while the pictures of this rare animal were published in Wild Nature Institute Blog this month. The giraffe was named after a popular brand of detergent sold in the country.

Omo is a giraffe with a rare genetic condition called leucism in which some of body surface cells are unable to make pigment but it is separate from albino – a condition characterized with red eyes and pure white skin.

“Omo is leucistic, meaning many of the skin cells are incapable of making a pigment. Some are, so she is pale but not pure white, with red or blue eyes, as a true albino would be." Dr Derek Lee, ecologist and founder of World Nature Institute (WNI) told The Telegraph.

She “is the only pale giraffe we are currently aware of, but we have also observed leucistic waterbuck, cape buffalo and ostrich in Tarangire.”

The park management was pleased to resight the unique giraffe in early January this year, meaning she has survived her first year as a small calf. This initial period is considered the most dangerous for a young giraffe as predators like lion, leopard and hyena usually prey on almost half of all giraffe calves during this stage.

“Omo appears to get along with the other giraffes, she has always been seen with a large group of normally colored giraffe, they don’t seem to mind her different coloring.” Lee said.

“Her chances of surviving to adulthood are good but adult giraffes are regularly poached for bush meat and her coloration might make her a target.” 

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.




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