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BROCHURE RACK

New sighting and photo of 'mutant' gazelle in the Masai Mara

16/11/2010 08:59:36
world/Africa_nov_09/mutant_gazelle_berntsen_head

New image of the 'mutant' Thompson's gazelle. Photo credit Robert Berntsen.

Strange Thompson's gazelle in the Masai Mara.

We first reported on this very unusual gazelle in August, when we reproduced some images taken by well known photographer Paolo Torchio. We have now received another image of the same gazelle (presumably) kindly sent to us by Robert Berntsen. The image was taken in the Masai Mara on 31st October, showing that the unusual gazelle is still alive and well. We have also had a sighting reported from the east (Narok) side of the Mara River, south of Talek River - late in July 2010.

Mr Berntsen reports that "It looked like a young male Thomson but with deformed head and upper neck. In addition there were long black strands of hair all over its body. On its head the blood vessels seem to be abnormally thick. Its size and behaviour looked quit normal and was accompanied by other Thomson's gazelles, although seemed to stay in the outskirts of the group."

Very unusual Thompson's gazelle seen on the Masai Mara. Photo credit Robert Berntsen.

 

IF YOU HAVE ANY IMAGES OF SIMILAR UNUSUAL ANIMALS, BIRDS, FISH OR ANYTHING ELSE FROM THE NATURAL WORLD, PLEASE DO EMAIL TO US AT EDITOR @ WILDLIFEEXTRA.COM.

The photographer, Paolo Torchio, (click here to go to his website) was 
born in Italy but moved to Kenya 20 years ago, where he has made his 
name as a photographer and a conservationist.    
Photo credit Paolo Torchio.

Mutations and oddities
The most well know 'oddities' in the animal world are unusual, or lack of, colour displayed by some animals. Often classed as Albinos, this can occur across a wide range of species, though it is often not albinism but leucism.

TYPES OF COLOUR MUTATION 
Click here to see our gallery of albino and leucistic animals and birds.
A white fallow deer in the Forest of Dean. 
Photo credit Robin Ward.
Leucism (or Leukism)
 
Leucism is a very unusual condition whereby the pigmentation cells in an animal or bird fail to develop properly. This can result in unusual white patches appearing on the animal, or, more rarely, completely white creatures. 

Albinism is a different condition. The easiest way to tell the difference between the two is that in albinism the eyes are usually pink or red, and albinism affects the entire animal, not just patches. This occasionaly causes very excited biologists to think they have discovered a new species, when in fact leucism is the cause of the unusual markings they have seen. 
Xanthochroism

Birds can show this condition in one of two ways: either there is an excess of yellow in the plumage or the yellow replaces another colour (in this instance the red). The condition has been reported in a number of species, including other species of woodpecker (in North America), and in many instances the colour replaced is red. 

Our thanks to Wildlife Direct as the source of this story.  

 

 

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