An extremely rare phenomenon has been photographed by Mike Holding, a wildlife cameraman working on a BBC wildlife programme in Botswana. A pink elephant calf, most probably an albino as elephant albinos are usually a reddish-brown or pink colour, was spotted amongst a herd of around eighty elephants in the Okavango Delta.
Albinos are rare among African elephants, though not uncommon among the smaller Asian variety. Ecologist Dr Mike Chase said, ‘We have been studying elephants in the region for nearly ten years now, and this is the first documented evidence of an albino calf I have come across.’
He added that surviving this very rare phenomenon would be difficult for an elephant calf in the harsh African bush, as the glaring sun may cause blindness and skin problems.
Being in the Okavango Delta maybe the elephant calf’s great hope though, as there are many tall trees to provide shade and oodles of mud to cake itself in. Dr Chase continued, ‘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.’