Rare White Giraffe Turns Up in Tanzanian National ParkBy Russell Westerholm
A rare African giraffe with a unique white coat turned up again around the same time she did a year ago, much to her observers' delight.
"We were thrilled to find her alive and well," Derek Lee told NBC News. "About half of all giraffe calves are killed during their first year by lions, hyenas and leopards.
"Unfortunately, all giraffes, not just the white ones like Omo, are threatened by bush meat poaching.
"Fortunately, Omo lives in a national park where she has the highest chance of survival thanks to anti-poaching efforts in the area."
Omo is 15 months old and lives in the Tarangire National Park in Tanzania, known to be home to some 3,000 giraffes. She is not an albino giraffe, but has a melanin deficiency in her skin, resulting a pale white coat.
Omo is also believed to be at an increased risk of being poached illegally because of her uniqueness. Though poaching giraffes is illegal in Tanzania, it still goes on and Tarangire is a target for poachers because of its giraffes.
"We hope Omo's popularity will raise global awareness for the problems facing giraffes," Lee told ABC News. "It was interesting that people wondered whether Omo was living happily within her herd.
"I think people love the fact that Omo was accepted by her more typically colored peers because it speaks to the human aspiration of tolerance and acceptance of those who look different and are not normal."