The baby albino elephant was seen in a herd in the Kruger National Park in South Africa, when it was drinking water with its mother. Albino African elephant is an extremely rare phenomenon; even more so, than among its smaller Asian cousins. This cute baby albino elephant was seen flapping its ears and playing around by the edge of the river.
Albinism occurs when the body fails to produce melanin, the pigment that gives hair, eyes and skin their color. A variety of genetic mutations lead to the condition, which appears occasionally in mammals, birds, and reptiles.
The rare sighting was photographed by Nicki Coertze, a tourist, who visited the Kruger National Park with his family. He called it a “once in a lifetime sighting” stating that he has been visiting the park since childhood and has never seen an albino calf before.
Coertze said that he and his friends were watching the elephants drinking at the Shingwedsi River when they noticed the albino elephant calf. They took pictures of the elephant through the car window. He had to be super still in spite of the excitement of the others in the car.
Some of the pictures show it framed by the legs of another elephant, so you can really see the contrast in color between these animals as the baby elephant shows off its unique pinkness beautifully. Coertze also noted he has been visiting Kruger since his early childhood, and over the last many years has being spending at least 20 to 30 days in the Kruger National Park every year, but he has never seen an albino elephant before.
He hoped that the pink elephant would play in the water a bit and wash all the dirt off, so they could see him in all his pinkness. Unfortunately, due to the lack of pigment in its skin the calf is likely to have skin problems caused by the scorching African sun, and like other cases of albinism in humans and other animals, the baby elephant may suffer blindness later in life because its eyes are sensitive to sunlight.
But for now it seems safe and Coertze seems to think “as far as the rest of the herd was concerned they seemed to just accept him in their stride”.
The little albino elephant is set to face many challenges, despite being in a fairly safe environment of the national park, which may help protect this rare elephant from poachers.