A rare albino kangaroo, its startlingly white coat standing out in sharp contrast to its grey-coloured companions, has been spotted near Canberra.
The snow-white marsupial was seen by a shocked ranger in the vast Namadgi national park, before being tracked down by colleagues who confirmed the sighting.
According to rangers, the animal is an eastern grey kangaroo, probably female and aged around two years old.
The age of the kangaroo has surprised wildlife staff, due to the heightened dangers faced by the pale-skinned animal.
“It’s very rare, there’s no doubt about that,” Brett McNamara, regional manager of the Australian Capital Territory’s Parks and Conservation Service, told Guardian Australia.
“She really stands out and in the natural world, you generally don’t want to do that. The grey colour of kangaroos helps them to blend in with the background, which helps them avoid predators.
“It’s no mean feat for this kangaroo to make it to two years old without being taken by wild dogs or foxes. It’s vulnerable because of its colour but also because it has poor hearing and eyesight, and it will be susceptible to sunburn because of its skin.”
McNamara said the albino was “very comfortable” within her group, or mob, of fellow kangaroos within the park, which sprawls for 106,000 hectares and covers nearly half of the ACT’s area.
He added that no albino kangaroos had been seen in the ACT in recent memory, although an albino echidna was found beside a busy Canberra road last year.
Albinism, which is caused by a genetic mutation, is extremely rare in kangaroos, similar to other species.
For that reason, McNamara said rangers wouldn’t be disclosing the exact location of the kangaroo.
“There are plenty of hunters out there and I imagine they’d want to bag themselves a souvenir like this, especially as it’s just 20 minutes out of Canberra,” he said.
source: Guardian UK