Rare Albino Deer

In the wild, pure-white albino deer are very rare — by some estimates they occur only one in every 20,000 individuals. That’s why a photographer in Father Hennepin State Park in Isle, Minnesota, was quick to start filming when he caught a glimpse of one strolling down a path with his herd.

Michael Huntley of Huntley/Paulsen photography uploaded images of the animal to his Facebook page as well.

Like other albino animals, albino white deer lack some or all of their color pigments, resulting in white fur, pink noses and pink eyes. They often don’t live long because they generally have poor eyesight and their white coloring makes them an easy target for predators.

While the white deer may be rare, he’s not the only one spotted recently. In fact, in Seneca County, New York, there’s an entire population of white deer living together. But unlike albino deer lacking genes for pigmentation, these deer actually carry a set of recessive genes that code for all-white coats. At some 700 individuals, the herd is the largest of its kind in the world.

(Wikimedia Commons)

While many wildlife watchers love getting a rare glimpse at these stunning animals, there are those who seek to hunt them, rather than enjoy them in their natural habitat. A recent story that incensed many on the internet involved an 11-year-old boy who shot an all-white trophy buck with a crossbow in Wisconsin.

Many hunters and non-hunters alike criticized the kill, pointing out that, because of their rarity, killing albino deer is outlawed in Illinois, Iowa, Tennessee and Wisconsin. At the time, Jonnie J. Sam, of Michigan’s Ottawa Indian tribe, told The Dodo that albino deer are considered one of the most sacred animals to many Native Americans. “I’d be more inclined to see if the animal has something to teach me, but sadly not everybody looks at it that way,” he said.