Monday, April 13, 2009

Pink elephants do exist... without drugs!

Pink elephant spotted in Botswana
Wednesday, 25 March 2009
A baby pink elephant was sighted in the African country of Botswana
on Friday by a filmmaker for the BBC as he was filming for a wildlife
documentary. The cameraman took photographs of the elephant when
he noticed it in a herd of around eighty elephants in the Okavango
Delta. According to experts, it is most likely an albino, an occurrence
that is very rare among African elephants.

"We only saw it for a couple of minutes as the herd crossed the river",

said Mike Holding, who spotted the elephant. "This was a really

exciting moment for everyone in camp. We knew it was a rare sighting

- no-one could believe their eyes."

pink elephant

"I have only come across three references to albino calves,

which have occurred in Kruger National Park in South Africa,"

said ecologist Mike Chase, who is in charge of the Elephants

Without Borders conservation charity. "This is probably the

first documented sighting of an albino elephant in northern Botswana.

We have been studying elephants in the region for nearly 10 years now,

and this is the first documented evidence of an albino calf that I have

come across."

The ecologist said that the condition might make it hard for the animal

to survive for very long. "What happens to these young albino calves

remains a mystery. Surviving this very rare phenomenon is very

difficult in the harsh African bush. The glaring sun may cause blindness

and skin problems," he noted.

However, he added that it still might be possible for the elephant to

survive, as it appears to be adapting to the condition: "Because this

elephant calf was sighted in the Okavango Delta, he may have a

greater chance of survival. He can seek refuge under the large trees

and cake himself in a thick mud, which will protect him from the sun,

" Dr Chase noted.

"Already the two-to-three-month-old calf seems to be walking in the

shade of its mother. This behaviour suggests it is aware of its

susceptibility to the harsh African sun, and adapted a unique behaviour

to improve its chances of survival."

Information from: Wikinews,

Image: BBC News

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