Eastern Grey Kangaroo Gives Birth To Baby That Looks JUST Like His Dad
An eastern grey kangaroo has given birth to an albino baby after mating with a roo who has the rare genetic mutation. The snow white joey was born at Panorama Garden Estate on the Mornington Peninsula, south east of Melbourne, last month. Annemaree Van Rooy, the owner of the uncommon kangaroo family, said it wasn’t difficult to spot the new addition to the sanctuary when he popped his head out of his mother’s pouch.
The mutation means the baby kangaroo looks nothing like his mother who has dark grey and brown fur. Instead, the marsupial loses pigmentation to the hair, eyes and skin and is pure white. This is not the first time Panorama Garden Estate has welcomed albino kangaroos into the family. ‘We have a mob of white kangaroos and albino kangaroos that live here on the sanctuary,’ Van Rooy said. ‘We got our first albino kangaroos from Border Town about eight years ago. ‘There are about nine in the mob now, a combination of white and albino. They are quite rare and very distinctive.’Mammalogist Mark Eldridge told the ABC in 2017 that albino or white kangaroos occur every 50,000 to 100,000 animals.
Before the 2019-2020 bushfire season there was an estimated 50 million kangaroos in Australia. Based on those figures, there may only be about 500 white or albino kangaroos in Australia. ‘We do get reports of white kangaroos and white wallabies maybe once a year in various parts of Australia, so it does happen but it’s certainly quite rare,’ Dr Eldridge said at the time. ‘If they have the genes which prevent them from producing any pigment at all, then they would be albinos. ‘But they may just have a mutation in the genes which produce the colour in their fur which makes them white, but they’d still have pigment in their eyes and nose and other places, so there could be two different things going on.’
Animals with albinism can face several problems surviving the wild. They can have issues with hunting due to their poor eyesight and may struggle to find a mate. The rare animals are also more likely to be targeted by poachers. Ms Van Rooy owns Panorama Garden Estate – which doubles as a wildlife sanctuary – with her husband Nick. ‘It is our home that we open up to the public, although we are like every other business currently closed to the public because of the COVID-19 restrictions,’ she said. ‘We have a wildlife sanctuary on the property and have all different types of interesting wildlife here. We have been open to the public for the past five years. ‘That little joey was a nice surprise when he popped his head out of the pouch.’