By Derek Lee, Carter News
Omo has miraculously turned one year. And it's a miracle because, to the already low survival rate of normal baby giraffes, Omo has to be added a rarity that could have made him even more vulnerable. But, miraculously, it has not.
Omo lives in Tarangire National Park, Tanzania, where she was first seen in January 2015 by Derek Lee, leading a group of scientists from the Wild Nature Institute in New Hampshire, in the United States.
Then they explained that it was a Masai giraffe calf with a strange genetic alteration called leucism, that is, the cells of its skin do not produce pigmentation in the body, but they do in the soft tissues, which is why its eyes are dark.
Leucism, not albinism
Omo is not albino. It was named after a Park guide because Omo is a popular Tanzanian detergent brand. A year later, Omo has been photographed again, alive, with her mother.
"We were lucky enough to see her again this January, almost exactly a year later. We are delighted that she is still alive and well," Derek Lee wrote on his blog, where he opened a poll to vote for a new name or to keep your current nickname, Omo.
You can vote here.
Although rare, leucism occurs in many species, including penguins, eagles, and hippos.
Not to mention that the absence of the real color of giraffes helps them to camouflage themselves, and that Omo's whiter appearance makes him more visible, being able to attract, even more, predators, hindering their chances of survival.
Now Tarangire National Park officials are working to ensure Omo's protection from poachers now that his case has been made public.
The park already has an anti-poaching program where they have drones and sniffer dogs to defend their wildlife, including that of this very special giraffe.