The honey badger is regarded as one of Africa’s most ferocious mammals, and was even named the ‘most fearless animal in the world’ in the 2002 edition of the Guinness Book of World Records.
This feisty animal is once again in the spotlight after an extremely rare albino honey badger (Mellivora capensis) was recently captured on camera. This is the first record of this condition for this species in scientific literature (although its been made aware of at least one other record within CapeNature).
“BirdLife South Africa and Panthera were granted a research permit to undertake a camera trap survey at De Hoop Nature Reserve to determine the relative abundance of predators which could be a potential threat to the establishment of a new penguin colony at De Hoop,” CapeNature explains.
While the purpose of the camera trap survey was focused on species such as leopard and caracal, all species captured on the cameras were recorded. And this magnificent albino honey badger surfaced among the images captured.
Albinism is an inherited disorder which occurs due to a reduction in or absence of melatonin formation. The natural colouration of a honey badger is black underparts, including the face, with an off-white dorsal surface, while the albino honey badger is completely white.
“Albinism generally results in reduced fitness for wild animals, which means a reduced chance of survival, and as a result it is an extremely rare trait as natural selection reduces the chances of this gene being passed on. The reduced fitness is caused by reduced visual perception, increased sensitivity to solar radiation and reduced camouflage – the latter of which affects both predators and prey,” CapeNature adds.