Omo the leucistic pale giraffe is beautiful, but at a disadvantage. (Photo: Derek Lee/Caters News)
A rare white giraffe has been spotted in Tanzania’s Tarangire National Park, and animal lovers are concerned about its welfare
That’s because looking unique in the animal world isn’t usually a good thing. Not only does the rare pelt attract poachers and collectors, but the lack of coloring means the animal doesn’t have the normal defense mechanisms to hide from prey effectively.
This giraffe — dubbed Omo by a local guide after a brand of detergent — was caught on camera by ecologist Derek Lee, founder of the Wild Nature Institute. Omo has a condition called leucism, which means that some of the animal’s skin cells don’t create pigmentation. This is different from being an albino, in which all color is absent throughout the body, creating the characteristic red eyes; leucism usually affects only the skin, scales, fur, and feathers, as you can see with this pale cutie who still has a solid brown mane.
As Dr. Lee told The Telegraph: “Omo is the only pale giraffe we are currently aware of, but we have also observed leucistic waterbuck, Cape buffalo and ostrich in Tarangire.
“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.”
Omo was first spotted by WNI in April 2015, and the most recent sighting this month shows that she’s still alive and well.
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