The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) is sharing photos of an extremely rare leucistic moose that stands out from the rest of the herd with its blonde coat.
Biologists spotted the beautiful moose while flying a drone to survey moose population in Interior Alaska.
You might think that this moose is albino, but ADF&G distinguishes the difference in the genetic mutations:
“Leucism is a genetic mutation that causes a partial lack of pigment in the skin and hair (and feathers and scales in other animals) but not in the eye.
This is not the same as albinism in which no melanin is present, and the eyes are pink.”
This moose is beautiful, but the post by ADF&G has unfortunately garnered a strong response from hunters looking to bag this animal as a trophy.
With that said, wildlife experts believe that this blonde moose has more to worry about that humans hunting it. Its coat might actually be a disadvantage for survival.
Kimberlee Beckmen, an ADF&G wildlife veterinarian told the Washington Post that she’s concerned this moose won’t survive:
“When your species is supposed to be a certain color, being white or lighter isn’t going to help you a whole lot.”
“This lighter color is a bad thing for a moose. Natural selection selects against it because it either means they’re less healthy or they have a greater chance of being preyed upon.”
Here’s hoping this beautiful animal continue to thrive.