Sighting of the Quarter: Albino Black-backed Jackal
Date: January 2009 Observers: Kim Nixon, Brian Stacey
Out on a morning game drive in the Okondeka region of Etosha National Park, an eerie snow-white phantom appeared out the bush - after careful observation, the apparition was identified as an albino black-backed jackal (Canis mesomelas). In the past, the rarity and unusual appearance of albino animals often led observers to mistakenly believe that they had discovered a new species.
But albinism is actually a congenital genetic disorder that can be inherited if both parents carry the recessive albino gene. This jackal appeared to be fit and fat and thriving, although it is generally accepted that animals with this condition do not survive long as they are more conspicuous to predator and prey alike. But this particular animal may actually have benefited from its albinism - as the jackal moved out of the grass and onto the white calcrete Etosha Pan, it was perfectly camouflaged!
Statistically consistent Big-5 Game Viewing….
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