Snowflake (1964 – 2003) was an albino western lowland gorilla. From 1966 until his death he was kept at the Barcelona Zoo in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.
Albino gorilla history
Snowflake was caught on October 5, 1966, in the Rio Muni region of Guinea, Guinea by the ethnic Fang farmer. Mao killed the rest of the snowflake’s guerrilla group (who were of normal color). Ma ñé then left her home for four days before taking Snowflake to Bata, where she bought primatologist Jordi Sabater Pie.
Originally named “Enfumu Engui” in Fang by his captor (“white gorilla”), the Albino gorilla was later named “Kopito de Nivi” (Spanish “little snowflake”) by his keeper, Jordi Sabater Pi.
Snowflake was a western lowland gorilla with non-syndromic oculocutaneous albinism, and tests were weak to determine if he had received a central vision, writes Antonio Zunch, director of the Barcelona Zoo:
“There was a blue-colored sclera in the eye, a simple cornea, and a light blue iris that was very transparent in translumination. Accommodation and removal were normal. The media was transparent and the eye fundus was normal and completely faded.
The choroidal vessels of this Albino gorilla were fully visible and the doll was normal. The animal exhibited marked photophobia due to repeated blinding when exposed to illuminated light. In light of its dispersed biotope, we calculated that it blinks an average of 20 times per minute. “
Snowflake’s genome study determined that 12% of his parents’ DNA was in common, leading researchers to believe that his parents were uncles and nephews. The same study revealed that his albinism was caused by a mutation in the SLC45A2 gene. Snowflake received recessive genes from both parents, resulting in his albinism.
Snowflake has given birth to twenty-two children by three different partners or “dams.” His six children survived puberty. Snowflake had no children albino, but all should have a different, recessive career for the albino gene. Half of his grandchildren probably carry albino genes. If both parents have an albino gene carrier, they have a 25% chance of being an albino gene.
As of May 2014, Snowflake had a total of 21 grandchildren (11 living) and four grandchildren (all living). Snowflake’s grandson Nate Kouk has pink fingers that probably suggest partial albinism.
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In 2001, this Albino gorilla was diagnosed with an unusual form of skin cancer, which is certainly related to his albinism. During 2003, Snowflake’s health began to decline.
After he began to lose interest in his normal activities, showing signs of pain keeping himself away from other gorillas, Snowflake’s guards decided to consolidate him. The decision was announced publicly on September 23.
Thousands of people visit the Snowflake at the Barcelona Zoo, before being euthanized on November 25. Snowflake was believed to be between 38 and 40 years old at the time of his death.