It’s true – this giraffe in Kenya may well have something in common with MJ and everyone else with the rare skin condition vitiligo (where the skin gradually loses its pigment).
New Scientist has reported that Zoe Muller from the Rothschild’s Giraffe Project and the University of Bristol, UK, has identified the first case of vitiligo in a wild giraffe.
Between 2009 and 2016 Muller followed a single male giraffe living in the Soysambu Conservancy in Kenya. After taking more than 430 photographs of it she noticed something unusual.“I first started to see a few white spots appear on the animal’s coat back in November 2009, and was puzzled as I had never seen this before,” Muller says.
Over the next six years Muller saw the white patches grow and spread. “There have been a few reports of white giraffes before in the wild, but those animals are either albino or leucistic, which means they are born white and have been that way for their entire life,” says Muller.
“There has never been a documented case of a giraffe turning white over time.”A skin infection might be to blame, Muller thinks, as she recalls seeing this giraffe behaving oddly before it started changing colour.
Take a look for yourself: