It seems white fur is all the rage right now. Just a few weeks after an albino civet was captured on camera in Zambia, a baboon sporting a similarly pale coat turned up a bit farther north in Tanzania's Arusha National Park.

Founder of NGO Testigo Africa, Tracey Sawyer, was on a self-drive safari in the reserve last month when a brilliant flash of white caught her eye. "As I drove closer, I was astonished to discover it was a baboon, with the most beautiful, perfectly groomed, long, glossy blonde fur!" Sawyer explained over at Africa Geographic.

The pale primate – likely an olive baboon (Papio anubis) – was seen foraging alongside its troop members, seemingly unaffected by its unusually coloured fur. White-coated animals are at a serious disadvantage in the wild as they struggle to stay hidden from potential predators in their earthy-coloured habitats. In many instances, parents of albino or leucistic animals will abandon these newborns, leaving them with little chance of survival.

This pigment-deprived primate, however, seems to be doing just fine despite the odds. The animal is not a true albino; its genetic condition is known as leucism. Unlike albinism, which causes a complete lack of melanin throughout the body, leucism results in only partial pigment loss, and doesn't affect the colour of the eyes.

Although the sighting is a rare one, this is not the first time that a white baboon has been spotted in the wild. In the last five years, there have been at least three other sightings of chalky-white baboons in Tanzania and Zambia, including this adorably clumsy youngster filmed in South Luangwa National Park:


Top header image: Harvey Barrison