This beautiful baby giraffe can really stand out in a crowd. Spotted over a year ago roaming the Tarangire National Park, she has been sighted again this year, alive and well. This is really good news because as lovely as her colouration is, it may also make her a greater target for poachers and natural predators in the wild. Christened by a local guide as “Omo” after a popular brand of detergent in Tanzania, she draws her rare white colouring from a condition known as leucism.
Leucism is a partial loss of cellular pigmentation which results in Omo’s pale, patchy colour. It is not to be confused with albinism, which is a reduction in just melanin; leucism is the combined lack of multiple types of pigments. Dr. Derek Lee, founder and scientist at the Wild Nature Institute and the first one to spot the rare giraffe calf, has said that “Omo 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.”
As the only known white giraffe in the area, Omo is a rare find. Lee commented that he and his partners are actively “working on giraffe conservation and anti-poaching to help give Omo and her relatives a better chance of survival. [They] hope that she lives a long life and that some day she has calves of her own.” Currently, the Institute is conducting the largest ever giraffe research project, identifying every individual giraffe in the National Park by their unique spot patterns.
via [Bored Panda]