No, this is not a drunken hallucination. While filming for a BBC wildlife program in Botswana, cameraman Mike Holding spotted this rare pink elephant calf among a herd of approximately 80 elephants. The young elephant is most likely an albino, which diminishes its chances for long-term survival under the scorching African sun. Lengthy exposure might result in blindness and serious skin problems.
Although albinism is considered quite common among Asian species, it is rather rare in the larger African elephants. "This is probably the first documented sighting of an albino elephant in northern Botswana," said Ecologist Dr. Mike Chase, head of the conservation charity Elephants Without Borders.
Although surviving into adulthood will be a difficult task for the baby elephant, Dr. Chase expressed some hope in the creature's ability to adapt and cope with its condition: "I have learned that elephants are highly adaptable, intelligent and masters of survival." He explained that it could seek refuge underneath large trees, or coat itself with thick mud.
"Already the two-to-three-month-old calf seems to be walking in the shade of its mother. This behavior suggests it is aware of its susceptibility to the harsh African sun, and adapted a unique behavior to improve its chances of survival."