GHOSTLY GI­RAFFES NOT A PIG­MENT OF THE IMAG­I­NA­TION

Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin - - WORLD -

TWO white gi­raffes have emerged in Africa. The mother and calf may be an evo­lu­tion­ary step.

The spec­tral fam­ily was first spot­ted by vil­lagers in Kenya in June. Word of their spooky find soon spread.

Soon, Kenya’s Hirola Con­ser­va­tion Pro­gram (HCP) sought to ver­ify the re­ports.

In Au­gust, a team of con­ser­va­tion­ists man­aged to track the pair down near the Ishaqbini con­ser­va­tion park in Garissa, eastern Kenya.

“We hur­riedly headed to the scene as soon as we got the news. And lo! There, right in front of us, was the so hyped ‘white gi­raffe’ of Ishaqbini con­ser­vancy!” the HCP’s blog reads.

Mum seemed aware the preter­nat­u­ral colour­ing of her calf and her­self left them some­what ex­posed.

“The mother kept pac­ing back and forth a few yards in front of us while sig­nalling the baby gi­raffe to hide be­hind the bushes,” the HCP’s blog re­ports.

Soon the pair slipped back into the bush.

But not be­fore HCP’s con­ser­va­tion­ists had caught pho­to­graphic and video ev­i­dence of their con­di­tion.

The rare gi­raffes are not al­bi­nos — a con­di­tion which strips all pig­ment out of an an­i­mal’s skin, and is recog­nis­able through pink eyes.

In­stead, they have a ge­netic con­di­tion called leu­cism.

Here, pig­ment re­mains in key parts of their body — such as the eyes and nose. But it is ab­sent in skin and fur.

The HCP footage shows the calf to have faint brown traces of gi­raffe-like pat­terns. But ex­perts be­lieve this will fade to white as it grows older.

Th­ese two rare gi­raffes spot­ted near a con­ser­va­tion park in Kenya are not al­bi­nos — in­stead, they have a ge­netic con­di­tion called leu­cism.

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