Leucism is a rare genetic mutation where two recessive genes produce a white phenotype or pale appearance. On the 17th of July a white buffalo calf was spotted in Sibuya’s Cape buffalo herd and since then she has become quiet the sensation! However, it was not clear if she was leucistic or albino.
Albinism: occurs when the body does not possess any pigmentation. It’s characterised by pink eyes.
Leucism: Is the result of an recessive allele that causes a reduction in pigmentation. Leucism affects all types of pigmentations in the body.
The team at Sibuya has been lucky enough to see the calf frequently and have confirmed that she a leucistic animal and not an albino. True albinos have no pigment whatsoever and pink eyes which makes the sun a challenge for them. This little buffalo has a black nose and hooves with brown eyes.
Experts believe she’ll gradually become darker over the next couple of years but we’ll just have to wait and see! It’s certainly going to be an interesting journey that has everyone at Sibuya very excited.