Credits By: 9News
Just a few weeks old, an unnamed baby giraffe at a zoo in northeastern Tennessee has demonstrated an extraordinary and incredibly uncommon trait: being “spotless.” This female calf has a complete brown coat instead of the customary spotty appearance associated with giraffes, a trait that has not been observed in giraffes for more than 50 years. The giraffe was conceived last month at the family-run Brights Zoo in Limestone, Tennessee. In 1972, a spotless giraffe was seen for the last time ever at a zoo in Tokyo.
The sight of a pristine giraffe is an exceptional case, according to Sara Ferguson, a wildlife veterinarian and conservation health coordinator at the Giraffe Conservation Foundation. A wild animal with such colors has never been seen before. A genetic mutation affecting one or more genes is most likely to blame for the aberration in the giraffe’s color. The newborn reticulated giraffe, an eastern African subspecies, does not appear to have any genetic disadvantages or underlying medical issues, nevertheless.
The mother of the calf, Shenna, had previously given birth to three other calves, all of which exhibited the typical spotted pattern, according to David Bright, the director of Brights Zoo. The giraffe that the zoo just welcomed to its family was born weighing about 190 pounds. Despite the surprising absence of spots, the calf’s health and normalcy were confirmed by the veterinary care team.
Animal color is frequently influenced by genetic differences in a variety of ways. Leucism, a genetic disorder that causes all-white giraffes, has been seen in the wild, however, immaculate giraffes are extremely rare and are most likely the result of genetic abnormalities. A giraffe of this type gave birth for the final time in 1972 at a zoo in Tokyo.
Brights Zoo, which is home to 126 different types of animals, including nine giraffes, had a public vote on its Facebook page to decide what to call the pristine giraffe calf. The possible names, all in Swahili, are Jamelia (one of great beauty), Shakira (she is most lovely), Firyali (exceptional or unusual), and Kipekee (unique).
According to research, several characteristics of giraffe markings, such as their roundness and smoothness, are inherited. The relevance of these patterns in terms of concealment and survival, however, remains a mystery. Although a lack of spots would suggest reduced camouflage, experts think it may not severely harm giraffes in the wild because young giraffe mortality rates from lion predation are already high.
Despite the rarity of this event, specialists are eager to find out more as this special giraffe matures. It would be interesting, says Ferguson, to photograph or thermograph the woman to check if the spot pattern is still present but not visible to the human eye.