When tourists go on African safari they always take along their cameras. You just never know when you’ll get that shot of a lifetime of a lion, or tiger, or gazelle.
For tourist Nicki Coertze, his shot of a lifetime was something that he’d never heard of.
Certainly he’d never seen it before, even though he had come to the area on vacation annually and sometimes even more often, since he was a kid.
He was in the Kruger National Park in South Africa on vacation with his family when a flash of color caught his eye. A herd of elephants were drinking water in the Shingwedzi river.
Nothing out of the ordinary about that. But, what about that flash of color?
He looked closer. Something bright pink was definitely walking about amid the grey.
His mind raced through all possible creatures it could be. The only thing he could think of with that brilliant pink color was a flamingo.
The shape was all wrong for a bird. It was shaped more like…an elephant. A very small elephant. A very small pink elephant.
Coertze was shocked. The pink calf was in fact an albino elephant. Something believed to be a rare sight in the area.
“I have been visiting Kruger since my early childhood, and have over the last many years been spending at least 20 to 30 days in Kruger every year,” said Coertze.
“I have never seen an albino elephant before,” and neither had his many friends.
Albinism is an extremely rare phenomenon among African elephants.It’s more commonly found among Asian elephants, the BBC reported.
“Amazingly, I think we were the only ones excited about the albino elephant,” Coertze said. “As far as the rest of the herd was concerned they seemed to just accept him in their stride.”
None of the photos of the baby elephant show him with open eyes. The reason for that is quite sad.
The baby’s eyes are as pink as the rest of him and are very sensitive to sunlight. “Albino elephants are renowned to not have strong eyesight,” Coertze explained.
Sadly, the lack of pigment in this calf will likely cause him to suffer blindness later in life.
He may also develop skin problems as his unusually sensitive skin is constantly exposed to the blazing African sunlight.
Being born different is never easy. This little guy is very lucky that he was born in the National Park. The albino elephant is a rarity that poachers would love to get their hands on.
The security at the Park will keep a close eye on our little pink friend. Woe be to any poacher that sets him in their sights.
It ain’t easy being pink. But, it’s a little easier to sleep at night knowing that men with guns have an eye on you.
May you beat the odds, little pink guy, and grow up healthy and strong with a long and happy life ahead of you.