A rare white giraffe was spotted in Tarangire National Park Tanzania. The gifraffe, known as Omo, happened to be attracting much attention, but not for the usual reasons.
Omo’s white body did not happen by chance, he is said to have a condition called Leucima (a genetic condition in which there is partial loss of pigmentation in an animal resulting in white, pale, or patchy coloration of the skin). This makes it therefore impossible for her body surface cells to be capable of making pigment, “but she is not an albino” explained the Wild Nature Institute.
“It is very rare. This is only the second record of a white giraffe in Tarangire over the past 20 years or so, among more than 3,000 giraffes in the area,” Derek Lee, the first person to take a photograph of Omo told ABC News.
“One way to tell the difference between albino and leucistic animals is that albino individuals lack melanin everywhere, including in the eyes, so the resulting eye color is red from the underlying blood vessels,” said Derek
Omo is around 15 months old, meaning she has grown past her vulnerable time as a calf when she easily falls prey to lions and hyenas. Derek added that for the fact that little Omo is bright and visible, falling prey to poachers and hunter is very much possible.
“It is illegal to kill giraffes in Tanzania, as it is the national animal, but illegal market hunting for meat is well known to be rampant around Tarangire,” he added. “Unfortunately all giraffes, not just the white ones like Omo, are threatened by bushmeat poaching.
“Fortunately, Omo lives in a national park where our research found she has the highest chance of survival thanks to anti-poaching efforts in the area.” he added.
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