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An albino elephant on Kapama Game Reserve, by Adine Roode

An albino elephant on Kapama Game Reserve, by Adine Roode

Picture credit: Marilize Minnaar – Kapama Staff

The albino elephant, also known as the white elephant, is a very rare type of elephant indeed. Often depicted as ‘white’, the albino elephant’s skin is soft and reddish-brown in colour, which turns to light pink when wet. This kind of elephant also has fair toenails and eyelashes.

While albinism is thought to be fairly common in Asian elephants, it is much less common in the larger African species. Experts are unsure of long-term survival rates for this kind of elephant. The blazing African sunlight could well cause blindness and skin problems for the calf. We noticed when the young calf was a few months old that he would normally stand in his mother’s shade.

In a 2009 BBC News article, Rebecca Morelle (a science reporter for BBC News) captured a pink elephant and quoted ecologist, Dr Mike Chase, who runs conservation charity Elephants Without Borders, “I have only come across three references to albino calves, which have occurred in Kruger National Park in South Africa.”

The Camp Jabulani Elephants on Kapama originated from the Kruger National Park and found their new home on the Kapama Game Reserve between 1992 and 1997. This calf is now about 5 years of age, and as you can see on the picture he still has the pink eyes and lashes.

Camp Jabulani Elephants
Rebecca Morelle further quoted Mike Chase; “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”. He added, “I have learned that elephants are highly adaptable, intelligent and masters of survival.” I fully agree with this!

Adine Roode

MD, Camp Jabulani

9 Comments
  • Roberta Limoli
    Posted at 14:24h, 30 November Reply

    I just hope and pray that know hunter or zoo see’s this and makes a claim for this poor baby…she needs to be protected…

  • Marianne Bradley
    Posted at 16:42h, 30 November Reply

    I would imagine this elephant will be taking frequent mud baths and leave out the rinse…

  • Madeline Ramos.
    Posted at 20:46h, 30 November Reply

    Blessings to Pink elephant, please stay healthy. Much love for him!

  • Therese Lesher
    Posted at 06:33h, 01 December Reply

    Such a RARE privilege…I SO envy you!!!!! 😀

  • Lupe ibarra
    Posted at 06:49h, 01 December Reply

    Beautiful

  • amorin
    Posted at 16:29h, 02 December Reply

    j’espère que le troupeau ne le laissera pas de coté…

    • Camp Jabulani
      Posted at 11:45h, 15 January Reply

      Hi Amorin,
      This elephant does not belong to the Camp Jabulani herd. He was born to the wild herd on the Kapama reserve.

  • Janine Hill
    Posted at 08:25h, 10 January Reply

    Good day, wan’t to find out what accommodation will be. Want to stay for a night. And visit your cheetah rehab centre please. We will be 3 adults. Myself, my husband and son.
    Thank you
    Regards
    Janine

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