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Planet Earth

Good-bye, Snowflake

World's only albino gorilla dies.

By Maia WeinstockFebruary 5, 2004 6:00 AM


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Snowflake, the world’s only known albino gorilla, died of skin cancer on November 24. Known in Catalan as Floquet de Neu, Snowflake became a famous resident of the Barcelona Zoo in Spain because of his unique skin color, the result of a rare albinism gene inherited from both parents. He was roughly 2 years old when he was captured in Equatorial Guinea, in western Africa, in 1966. Only about 50,000 lowland gorillas now remain in the wild. None of the 21 offspring Snowflake sired are albino, nor are any of his six grandchildren. But the grandkids’ offspring will each have a 25 percent chance of turning out like their pale patriarch.

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