The Albino Elephant of Kapama – Then and Now.
The Kapama Game Reserve (Greater Kruger National park) where Jabulani is situated, is home to a rare albino female elephant. She was first seen in 2010, shortly after she was born, a pink-skinned baby elephant that caught the world’s attention.
Many expressed concerns if she would be able to survive given the harsh conditions of our African sun and the delicate nature of her fair skin and eyes.
Fortunately, in 2015, we shared an update of a sighting; the albino elephant continued to look happy and healthy; though her skin was still considerably lighter and pinker than the rest of her herd.
Now in June 2019, at an approximate age of nine years old, we can confirm that she remains in excellent condition, and still part of the same close-knit herd of elephants. Our ranger Jason, came across this same magnificent albino elephant recently while on safari with our guests.
It was a wonderful sighting, as she moved forward into the clearing, standing proud and boldly for a lengthy period, allowing our guests to observe her in clear view.
Over the years her skin has darkened, to become a few shades lighter than the rest of the herds’ skin, though there is evidence of the albinoism around her eyes, lips, and beneath her trunk.
We were fortunate to get this lengthy video clip of her in full view, as she foraged playfully for food.
But here she is, nine years old, alive and healthy. Just as significant is the sense of belonging we witness in her herd. While albino animals are often rejected by their own species because of their unusual appearance, it seems that this young elephant has been wholly welcomed and accepted by his herd – in true Jabulani spirit – and is thriving, another unexpected ray of hope in the South African wilderness.
Did you know?
- While there are true albino or ‘white’ elephant, there are also leucistic elephants. A true albino has no protective skin pigment, melanin, and has unpigmented pink eyes and white skin with no markings. A leucistic animal is white, but has dark eyes, and can have some pigmentation, producing ‘ghost’ markings. Source: https://www.krugerpark.co.za/krugerpark-times-20-pink-elephant-18080.html
- Elephants with non-pigmented patches of skin, often behind their ears, are sometimes seen but true albino animals are very rare. Source: https://www.krugerpark.co.za/krugerpark-times-20-pink-elephant-18080.html
- Albinism is caused by a lack of pigment in the skin. The condition also causes poor eyesight that could eventually lead to blindness, something common in albino animals. Source: https://www.satourismonline.com/home/extremely-rare-baby-albino-elephant-spotted-in-the-kruger-national-park