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Extremely Rare Baby Albino Elephant Spotted In the Kruger National Park

  • Monday, 11 February 2019
  • Linda Chivell

Albino bay ellie with mum

An extremely rare albino elephant has been seen in Kruger National Park in South Africa. The little elephant calf’s pink skin stands out in contrast with the grey skin of her mother and African elephants in her herd. The baby has been spotted by tourists near the Shingwedsi River, where the elephants were drinking and bathing.

One person who saw the baby was 58-year old Nicki Coertze, who has been visiting Kruger Park since he was a kid. He said in all his years in the park he has never seen an albino elephant before, so he knew it was a once-in-a-lifetime sighting.

Elephants with non-pigmented patches of skin, often behind their ears, are sometimes seen but true albino animals are very rare. The harsh sun makes survival a struggle for non-pigmented animals.

A true albino has no protective skin pigment, melanin, and has unpigmented pink eyes and white skin with no markings. A leucistic animal is white, but has dark eyes, and can have some pigmentation, producing 'ghost' markings. White lions are an example of leucistic animal

Albinism is caused by a lack of pigment in the skin. The condition also causes poor eyesight that could eventually lead to blindness, something common in albino animals.

Albino animals can often be rejected by their own species because of their unusual appearance. Fortunately, this does not seem to be the case with this baby elephant. She appears to be fully accepted in the herd and is being cared for by her mother.

Read some more fascinating elephant facts here.

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