A pair of rare white giraffes, a mother and child, have been spotted in Kenya and captured on video for first time.The unique giraffes suffer from a genetic condition called leucism, which prevents pigmentation in skin cells and results in a white, pale colour.Unlike albinism where there is only an absence of melanin, leucism is a condition that is caused by a reduction in multiple types of pigment.
The footage of distinctive giraffes was filmed in the Ishaqbini Hirola Conservacy in Kenya’s Garissa county by conservationists after locals tipped them off.Earlier this year in June, HCP said in a blog post that giraffes were first reported by a local villager.’They were so close and extremely calm and seemed not disturbed by our presence.’
Rare condition often confused for Albinism
Leucism is a condition where there is loss of multiple types of pigment and results in a white, pale or patchy colour. Albinism, on other hand, is caused by a reduction in melanin pigment alone.The main way to differentiate the two types is through the eyes. Sufferers of albinism have a similar colour loss in hair and skin but they also have this in their eyes. Pale eyes or often pink or red eyes are common as blood vessels show through, whereas in leucism, this is uncommon. ‘The mother kept pacing back and forth a few yards in front of us while signalling baby giraffe to hide behind the bushes.’According to HCP, other than the video, only two known sightings have been made in Kenya and Tanzania. The very first report of a white giraffe in the wild was in January 2016 in Tarangire National park, Tanzania and second in March 2016 in Ishaqbini conservancy, Garissa county, Kenya.It is thought that it is the first time anyone has captured video footage of the rare sighting.