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The Giraffe That Is Turning White

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In the first case of its kind, a giraffe has been spotted turning white.

This giraffe has been slowly turning white for six years.

It has a skin condition that has never been seen in giraffes before, which means patches of white are gradually spreading over its body.

Zoe Muller of the University of Bristol documented the changes. Her findings have been published in the African Journal of Ecology.

“There have been a few reports of white giraffes before in the wild,”

says Muller.

“But those animals are either albino or leucistic – genetic conditions– which means they are born white and have been that way for their entire life. There has never been a documented case of a giraffe turning white over time.”

Muller says the giraffe may well get even whiter as the years go by.

The white patches will spread, and the parts that are already white will get lighter.

In the wild, the giraffe’s pale skin would make him more vulnerable to predators.

“His white coat makes him more conspicuous in his natural habitat as he has lost his natural camouflage,”

says Muller.

Fortunately, he lives in the Soysambu Conservancy in Kenya. There are few predators, so his colouring should not put his life at risk.

Pierangelo Pirak and Melissa Hogenboom

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