Scientists at the New Hampshire-based wildlife-research group Wild Nature Institute originally reported the newborn Masai giraffe calf in 2015, around the time a local tour guide named her Omo, after a popular local brand of detergent.
Staff at the Wild Nature Institute were happy to see Omo still thriving during a recent foray to the national park, located in the northeastern part of the country.
“We were lucky enough to resight her again this January, almost exactly one year later. We are thrilled that she is still alive and well,” the organization wrote on its blog. It's also soliciting votes for a new name, or to keep Omo as her moniker.
Omo isn't albino; she has a genetic condition called leucism, says Derek Lee, founder of the institute. Her skin cells don’t produce pigmentation, but soft tissues, such as her dark eyes, do.
Omo has been especially lucky: More than half of all giraffe calves die before they’re six months old, as they're often targets of lions, hyenas, and wild dogs, according to the Giraffe Conservation Foundation. Not to mention, Omo’s obvious appearance could attract predators all the more, hampering her chances of survival. (See “Pictures: Albino Animals Revealed.”)
What’s more, Tarangire National Park is working to ensure that Omo’s rare coloration doesn’t put her in poachers’ crosshairs.
Tell us in the comments: What would you name the white giraffe—or do you like Omo?
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