Extremely rare white kangaroos spotted at Australian wildlife sanctuary
MELBOURNE, Australia – A sanctuary home to a slew of different animals in southern Australia is making some people do a double take when they notice several of your not-so-average kangaroos looking a bit discolored, but their owners say it’s perfectly normal.
Amidst the wallabies, alpacas, goats and cows are what is described as a mob of white kangaroos that have an inherited condition that makes most, if not all, their bodies appear the color white.
The Panorama Wildlife Sanctuary and Secret Gardens, a preserve south of Melbourne, own these uniquely colored kangaroos.
While many consider them to be albino, wildlife experts who looked at the photos said it is hard to tell if they are genuinely albino or have a condition known as leucism.
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Albinism affects melanin production in cells and makes mammals appear completely white, while leucism allows for some regular coloring to exist, especially in the eyes.
According to the National Wildlife Federation, albinism is rare and only usually displays itself when both parents carry mutated genes. Only about one out of every 10,000 births of a mammal produces a true albino, but leucism, especially in kangaroos, is considered even rarer.
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Property owner and manager Annemaree Van Rooy said her assortment of these kangaroos started over a decade when she rescued three of the mammals from a town in southern Australia, and her population has steadily increased.
"They can now roam free on our 55-acre property and live their life as they are supposed to," Van Rooy said. "These are animals that can't be rehabilitated or survive in the wild."
Many of the kangaroos appear similar to a joey born at the famed Animal Adventure Park in Harpursville, New York back in 2021.
The park, which was home to the viral sensation April the Giraffe, named their kangaroo Cosmo, and he is thought to be the only leucistic red kangaroo in the United States.
Cosmo and the kangaroos at the preserve in the land Down Under are considered to be healthy despite their color.
If not in captivity, the verdict is out on whether their survival rate would be as high due to the inability to camouflage in the lands of the Southern Hemisphere.
Experts have found mixed data on whether albinism or leucism impacts the chances of an animal becoming easier prey than one with a more normal color.
Some studies have shown that some species do not see an increased rate of becoming prey, while others are more easily detected by predators.
How to visit the Panorama Wildlife Sanctuary and Secret Gardens: Click here to learn more about the wildlife reserve