During a visit to the Maasai Mara, two British brothers and nature photographers, Will and Matt Burrard-Lucas, spotted a rare pink hippo in Kenya. They had visited the reserve to get a piece of the world-famous wildebeest migration. They captured stunning images of this event heralded by many as the eighth world wonder and bagged in a rare sighting.
Pink hippos are hard to come by. Sightings in Uganda have occurred, but this marks the first instance of one being observed and captured on camera in Kenya. According to the brothers, this one was young, smaller than the others and preferred to stay closer to its mother.
The colour of pink hippos is not due to albinism, as many may think. A condition called Leucism actually brings about this phenomenon. Humans and animals with Leucism tend to have reduced pigmentation. Unlike albinism, it results from a reduction in all types of skin pigment, not just melanin.
Hippos with leucism often face rejection from their normally coloured peers, resulting in a low survival rate. Their easily noticeable pink colour further exacerbates this, making them vulnerable to predators.
When the Burrard brothers spotted the pink little one enjoying a bath in the Mara River, they had a different opinion about its survivability. It seemed to get along with the other ‘normal’ hippos pretty well and was having the time of its life!
The whole episode took about ten minutes, they said later when they got back home to the UK. That is what makes the wild so exciting. One moment, you may be lazing around a picnic, and suddenly, an event of a lifetime unfolds before you. The rest, as they say, is history.
The stunning event stunned the two passionate photographers as they enjoyed their breakfast picnic. A pink mound slowly emerged from the serene water, reminding them of the rumours they had heard from their guide about a rare hippo sighting in the Mara. Without hesitation, they seized the opportunity to capture this magical moment and make a lasting memory. You can visit Will and Matt’s blog for more photos and story.