Suspected Albino Elephant sighted in Tanzania

Albinism in elephants is very rare but it does happen and can cause blindness and skin problems. It apparently is less so among Asian Elephants than their African counterparts though. But according to Peter Borchert, the founder of Africa Geographic, Albinism can occur in all vertebrate animals, including humans. This results from the inheritance of recessive genes. Some animals display a partial albinism and this is referred to as being albinoid.

Very recently, photographer, Etienne Oosthuizen, was leading a photographic safari through Lake Manyara National Park in Tanzania, when he saw a peculiar looking elephant. As he describes it, "At first, nothing jumped out at as particularly unusual. But on closer inspection, and after zooming in with my lens, little things about her appearance began to appear. First her eyes seemed strange, I started to look a little harder and noticed her tail hairs were completely white. She totally lacked pigment in these areas, yet the rest of her skin seemed normal."

He goes onto say, "The most recent record that we can find is the birth of an albino elephant in the Amboseli National Park of Kenya in 2011. The BBC also reported the sighting of an albino calf in Botswana in 2009 while filming for a wildlife programme. According to Ecologist Dr Mike Chase, who runs conservation charity Elephants Without Borders, there have only ever been three references to albino calves that he knows of in South Africa, in the Kruger National Park.

I have never seen an albino elephant myself but apparently albinism in ellies results in a pinky complexion rather than white per se. Like all albinos life is not easy as they are susceptible to skin disorders including bad sunburn and cancer as well as light sensitivity and even blindness. Not likely to make old bones I’m afraid."

Below are some photographs of Etienne’s photographic safari in Tanzania, with some close-ups of the suspected baby albinoid elephant.

Responses to "Albinoid Baby Elephant sighting in Africa"

  1. Amazing but not so good for the elephants. Thanks

  2. Anonymous says:

    Absolutely wonderful photos of the Albinoid Elephant.

Write a comment