When Dr. Derek Lee saw Omo for the first time, a 15 months giraffe that was as white as snow, his first reaction was to worry about the animal’s safety.
“The first year of life is very risky for giraffes, as they are targeted by predators. Imagine what it’s like for a specimen as Omo, encountering many difficulties while trying to blend in, having these unusual colors for its species, ” reports the scientist.
Omo was born in Tarangire National Park, Tanzania, and quickly became a star on the web. Many social network users wonder whether the genetic peculiarities of the fur, defined as leucism (an inherited trait consisting of complete lack of pigment in the hair), can cause difficulties in integrating with other giraffes. But the scientist removes any doubts:
“I think people are fascinated by the fact that Omo was accepted by other giraffes, despite its peculiarities. Nature has a lot to teach us in terms of tolerance and acceptance of diversity, ” said Lee.
However, the giraffe’s life is still in danger, like that of all giraffes of its age. Dr. Derek, author of a dedicated demographic study on species, named Giraffe Project that started in 2011, explains how in the last twenty years, the number of giraffes has decreased drastically because of changes in habitat.
Throught this project, Derek Lee and his wife try to protect Omo and its species from extinction.