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9/27 OT


Snowflake (Catalan: Floquet de Neu) (c. 1964 – November 24, 2003) was an albino gorilla. He is the only known albino gorilla so far, and was the most popular resident of the Barcelona Zoo in Catalonia, Spain.

Snowflakegorilla_medium

via upload.wikimedia.org


The official story is that an ape specialist, Jordi Sabater Pi, found the animal in 1966 in Ikunde, in the Spanish colony of Spanish Guinea, modern-day Equatorial Guinea. The only albino gorilla known to man, he was captured outside Nko, in the Equatorial forest of Nko, near Rio Campo, in the Rio Muni region, on October 1, 1966, by Benito Mañé, an ethnic Fang farmer, who had killed the rest of his group (all charcoal black in color) in order to obtain this unusual albino specimen. During the massacre, his mother was shot by Mañé whilst she tore a banana stem apart in his banana plantation. The small creature was found clinging to his mother's neck, his head buried deep in her black fur. Benito kept him at his own home for four days and then transported him to Bata, where he was purchased by Sabater Pi, who worked for the Barcelona Zoo's Ikunde Center, in Spanish Guinea, and paid 10,500 pesetas for the gorilla. A National Geographic-funded study of gorillas in the region was underway at the time of Snowflake's discovery.

Snowflake was a Western Lowland Gorilla. He spent most of his life at the Barcelona Zoo in the Parc de la Ciutadella. He was known worldwide, mentioned in tourist guides and put on postcards, becoming the unofficial mascot for the city. Barcelona Zoo director Antonio Jonch in wrote in 1967:

"The gorilla was a male about two years of age. Morphologically it was normal except that it was white, skin and hair being completely devoid of pigmentation. The eye had a blueish sclera, a normal cornea, and a light blue iris which was very transparent to transillumination. Accommodation and refraction were normal. The media were transparent and the fundus of the eye normal and totally depigmented. The choroidal vessels were perfectly visible and the pupil was normal. The animal displayed marked photophobia which caused it to close its eyes repeatedly when exposed to bright light. In diffuse light similar to that in its biotope, we calculated that it blinked on an average of 20 times a minute."[4]

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