This week on D&DH TV we detail many whitetail oddities, including the life of an incredible albino buck.
In whitetail herds, there are white deer and then there are albinos. True albinos have white coats, plus pink eyes and pink noses. These deer lack the ability to produce melanin, a pigment in the skin and coat. This condition results from a recessive gene that is found in less than 1 percent of the whitetail population. It is also commonly associated with other genetic defects, including poor hearing, vision and physical disabilities.
These deer are genetically inferior, are even often shunned by other whitetails. Yet, some states, including my home state of Wisconsin, have regulations that prevent shooting albino deer.
Biologically speaking, these rules are simply illogical. Albino whitetails hurt the overall genetic health of a herd. These protections are simply born from human emotion, and they aren’t new. Many Native American cultures revered albino animals, and many still believe these animals should be protected. Yet, so much of the human/nature experience is aesthetic. And white deer have certain aesthetic appeal that can’t be denied. Despite their faults, they enrich our world.
So, I ask you: Should we protect albinos?