TAWIRI dispatches experts to unravel white buffaloes mystery

TAWIRI dispatches experts to unravel white buffaloes mystery

A TEAM of experts from the Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute (TAWIRI) has been deployed at Tarangire National Park to unravel the mystery behind two white and cream coloured buffaloes roaming the protected area.

The decision follows reports of two large sub-Saharan African bovines which were spotted at Tarangire in a space of one week.

According to the director of research at the Arusha based wildlife institution Julius Keyyu, the emergence of the two rare buffaloes in such a short period of time raised eyebrows, compelling researchers and animal scientists to zero in on the issue which has also baffled researchers, recently.

“Phenotypic manifestation indicate that the two animals weren’t suffering from Albinism as it was widely claimed, however being spotted in just a week, in the same area among vertebrates is a rarity,” explained the TAWIRI research director on Sunday evening.

In wildlife, albinism is a rare occurrence at birth caused by a recessive gene. The rate in wildlife is estimated from 1 in 20,000 to 1 in 1 million, according to Dr Keyyu.

He further expounded that there have been 572 species of albinistic vertebrates reported in the wild, so far globally.

“It can be classified as either true or partial albinism and can be as a result of a number of factors such as inheritance, genetic mutations, environment and other factors,” clarified Dr Keyyu.

In ascertaining the mystery behind the emergence of the two white and cream colored buffaloes, the Dr Keyyu disclosed that the research institute had dispatched a team of experts to the area to monitor the two animals, which includes collecting their Deoxyribonucleic acids (DNAs) with a view of solving the mystery behind their colours.

He further disclosed that the researchers will closely monitor the two buffaloes by collaring them, an exercise which will jointly be executed with Tanzania National Parks Authority (TANAPA).

In March this year, a rare zebra with no black stripes on its back had been spotted at Serengeti National Park.

A video clip of the albino zebra, named Ndasiata, was shared by the Serengeti National Park on Instagram.

It shows the foal roaming in a field with other zebras, which have regular black-and-white stripes.

Ndasiata was covered mostly in white fur, with only a few faint black lines on its neck, head and body.

In the caption, the Serengeti National Park wrote, “A young zebra with albinism called “Ndasiata” is still roaming in Serengeti plains.”

Author: EDWARD QORRO in Arusha

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