Giraffe with rare skin condition could fall victim to predators
Have you ever seen a white giraffe? We haven't, but an incredibly rare, white (or rather pale) giraffe was recently spotted in the African bush, and there is much excitement about this unique creature as pictures of her have quickly spread across the web.
Her name is Omo (named after a brand of local detergent) and, according to the Wild Nature Institute, she has leucism — a condition which results in only some of her skin cells making pigment. She is not an albino.
"We were lucky enough to resight her again this January, almost exactly one year later. We are thrilled that she is still alive and well," the blog post reads.
Ecologist Dr. Derek Lee, who runs the Wild Nature Institute (dedicated to scientific research, preservation of nature and public education) took the pictures of the giraffe and the rest of her herd in Tarangire National Park in Tanzania, The Mirror reports.
Lee shed light on Omo and her situation, and explained just how rare she is.
"Omo is the only pale giraffe we are currently aware of, but we have also observed leucistic waterbuck, cape buffalo and ostrich in Tarangire," he said, according to the publication.
"[She] appears to get along with the other giraffes, she has always been seen with a large group of normally coloured giraffe — they don't seem to mind her different colouring.
"Omo is now 15 months old — she survived her first year as a small calf, which is the most dangerous time for a young giraffe due to lion, leopard and hyena preying on them."
The problem is that her pigmentation has also put her at risk from other predators, this time in the form of humans.
"Her chances of surviving to adulthood are good — but adult giraffe are regularly poached for bush meat, and her colouration might make her a target," Lee said, according to the publication.
Hopefully the Institute's conservation efforts pay off and Omo can live well into adulthood and have calves of her own. But for now, she has won the heart of the Internet.