Omo, a 15 month old Giraffe has sparked an interest to many by her strangely pale, white looking coat of fur spotted at the Tarangire National Park situated in Tanzania. A picture was taken of her by the 2 biologists from The Wild Nature Institute from North Carolina. The white giraffe was last spotted in January 2015.
According to Scientist Derek Lee through an interview with NBS News, Omo’s pale colour is extremely rare, only the second recording of a white giraffe in Tarangire, Tanzania over the past 2 decades. The park is home to around 3000 of these long necked, leopard printed like animals, and is known to be the 6th largest national park in Tanzania.
Named “Omo” after the local Laundromat is commonly misdiagnosed with Albinism due to her white coat caused by the lack of melanin in her skin.
However, according to Derrick Lee, Omo suffers from Leucism, which is a fractional loss of pigmentation which does not affect all cells, such as the eyes.
"We were thrilled to find her alive and well," Lee, who has been studying giraffes with digital photos since 2011, said Tuesday. "About half of all giraffe calves are killed during their first year by lions, hyenas and leopards."
Lee said it's illegal to kill the creatures in Tanzania because it's the national animal, but illegal market hunting for meat is rampant around the national park.
"Unfortunately, all giraffes, not just the white ones like Omo, are threatened by bush meat poaching," Lee said. "Fortunately, Omo lives in a national park where she has the highest chance of survival thanks to anti-poaching efforts in the area."