Omo may look like she is an albino, but that is not the case. She has a condition called leucism. Wild Nature Institute, who spotted the giraffe, explained that albino animals have no melanin anywhere. If Omo were albino, her eyes would have been red. Plus, there are a few areas of her skin – like the bottom half of her legs – with normal coloration. Derek Lee, the founder of the institute, said: “
“Leucism is a genetic condition that results in some of her skin cells being unable to create pigments, so she ends up looking very pale, with only vague patterns compared to a normal giraffe’s coloration.” Lee noted that it is an extremely rare condition. “This is only the second record of a white giraffe in Tarangire over the past 20 years or so, among more than 3,000 giraffes in the area.”
“Being so bright and visible could be a disadvantage when hunted by visual predators like humans,” Lee said. “However, many poachers use leg and neck snares which are indiscriminate killers,” he added.
“Unfortunately, all giraffes, not just the white ones like Omo, are threatened by bushmeat poaching,” Lee said.
Since Omo lives in a national park, she has a high chance of survival. Hopefully, her story can bring attention to the dire situation African giraffe are in.
“…in Africa today, there are currently four elephants for every one giraffe, so they are a threatened species,” Lee said. Humans hunt the animals for their meat and hide. “It is illegal to kill giraffes in Tanzania, as it is the national animal, but illegal market hunting for meat is well known to be rampant around Tarangire,” Lee said.