By Joe McFarlane
A fortunate safari ranger was amazed to witness Disney-like scenes when he spotted a rare baby pink elephant.
Tim Jansen van Vuuren was leading a group through the MalaMala Game Reserve in Kruger National Park, South Africa, last month when he made the unusual sighting.
The mammal, the smallest of the herd at no older than two or three weeks at the time, was surrounded by her family as she eagerly frolicked and played in the sea of green grass.
Her rare pink colouring is believed to have been caused by leucism, a condition which causes a partial loss of pigmentation and which is different to albinism.
Tim, from Benoni, South Africa, said: “I felt pretty ecstatic because it’s something completely out of the ordinary that I’ve only ever heard about.
“The elephant herd allowed us to get quite close to the little one so the whole experience was fantastic.
“This was the first time it was seen on the game reserve.
“I’ve been visiting the bush for my entire life and have been working in the environment for close on six years now and have never seen anything like this.
“It is an extremely large area without fences blocking the elephants’ movements into neighbouring reserves, so we may potentially never see that little elephant again.”
Pink elephants may be known to make appearances in Disney movies, but they are an incredibly unusual sight to see in the wild.
Leucistic elephants’ pigmentation darkens as they grow older, only leaving pink behind their ears.
Timothy said: “The elephant has a condition known as leucism where there is a partial loss of pigmentation to the skin and rest of the body.
“It is a genetic disorder that will affect them for life.
“This is by far one of the most interesting things I have seen in the wild.
“Things like this are not very well documented so it’s very interesting to witness as you won’t find things like this in books.