Ask anyone about the most distinctive characteristics of a giraffe and they may mention the animal’s beautiful spotted pattern — and that’s what makes two rare white giraffes recently spotted in Kenya all the more striking.
The white giraffes were caught on video by the Hirola Conservation Program in Kenya. Footage the conservation team took of the baby giraffe and its mother is well worth a watch.
In the clip, the two giraffes seem entirely unafraid of their human visitors as they stroll through the wilderness. Their white hair stands in even starker contrast to our expected giraffe expectations when a regularly-patterned giraffe walks past.
White giraffes are rare in nature. Surprisingly, their coloring isn’t due to albinism as one might expect.
Instead, the two giraffes in the video have leucism — a condition that’s related to albinism, but still allows animals to produce some pigment in some areas of the body. (Albino animals, on the other hand, can’t produce pigment anywhere.)
In the video, you can see how the leucistic giraffes have black eyes, rather than the pink eyes an albino animal would have, and that the young giraffe has slightly darker patches patterned on his body.
Take a look at the Hirola Conservation Program’s stunning video of the white giraffes below:
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While still rare compared to regular giraffe sightings, the conservation program said in August that white giraffe sightings have become more common in the last two years.
“The only two known sightings have been made in Kenya and Tanzania,” the Hirola Conservation Program wrote in an August blog post.
The first reports of a white giraffe came out of Tanzania in January 2016. Just a couple of months later, another white giraffe was reportedly seen in eastern Kenya in Garissa County where the Hirola program is based.
Beautiful creatures like these white giraffes don’t come around every day, and since their status is currently listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, they could use the extra help.