For nearly 40 years an albino gorilla named Snowflake was adored by people around the world.
In 1967, local villagers in Africa’s Equitorial Guinea captured a remarkable baby gorilla. This young male was unlike any gorilla the villagers had seen before; instead of the thick brown fur of most gorillas, this baby had a coat of pure white. Through a series of fortunate circumstances, the rare white gorilla ended up at the Barcelona Zoo, where he became an international star. He was given the Spanish name Copito de Nieve and the English name Snowflake.
NATURE’s Snowflake: The White Gorilla tells the story of this remarkable animal, from his loving upbringing by humans to his eventual death from skin cancer in 2003. It also tracks the revolutionary changes in our understanding of how best to care for gorillas that have taken place during Snowflake’s lifetime.
Captive gorillas were once confined to solitary cells and fed meat. Today, some zoos spend millions constructing environments that are more in keeping with gorillas’ natural habitats, where the animals can live in groups as they do in the wild. We now know that gorillas are vegetarians and have adapted feeding practices accordingly. Since 1956, when the first baby gorilla was born in captivity at an Ohio zoo, zoos have developed new and better ways to nurture gorilla families.
Let NATURE’s Snowflake: The White Gorilla take you on a fascinating excursion into this remarkable world and introduce you to history’s only known albino gorilla.
Online content for Snowflake: The White Gorilla was originally posted February 2005.
Production Credits Print
Snowflake: The White Gorilla
Written and Produced by
Tigress Productions Wishes to Thank:
THE FAMILY OF MARIA GRACÍA DE LUERA
CARME MATÉ I GARCÍA
UNIVERSITY OF BARCELONA
MICHAEL POGANY AND PATTY PETERS
STEVE FAIRCHILD AND KIT CROSBY
THE BRONX ZOO
WILDLIFE CONSERVATION SOCIETY
THE BRONX ZOO
ITN ARCHIVE / REUTERS
MARTIN AND OSA JOHNSON SAFARI MUSEUM
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE
WORLD SOCIETY FOR THE PROTECTION OF ANIMALS
JULIE SCHAPIRO THORMAN
Executive in Charge
A Co-Production of Tigress Productions Limited and Thirteen/WNET New York
This program was produced by Thirteen/WNET New York, which is solely responsible for its content.
Director of Production
DANIEL B. GREENBERG
About the Writer
David Malakoff is a journalist covering research discoveries and the politics of science for SCIENCE MAGAZINE in Washington, D.C. His writing has appeared in a wide range of venues, including THE ECONOMIST, THE WASHINGTON POST, and ABCNews.com.
Photo for "Overview" © Jordi Sabater Pi. Photos for "Snowflake's Legacy" and "Resources" © Barcelona Zoo. Photo for "Colo and Dotty" © Columbus Zoo. Photos for "Photo Essay" © Bronx Zoo. Other images from Snowflake: The White Gorilla.
Thirteen Online is a production of Thirteen/WNET New York's Kravis Multimedia Education Center in New York City. Dan Goldman, Executive Director, thirteen.org. Bob Adleman, Business Manager.