Snowflake: The White Gorilla

About

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

Television Credits

Snowflake: The White Gorilla

Narrated by
MICHAEL GROSS

Written and Produced by
KAREN PARTRIDGE

Photography
ROB FRANKLIN

Sound
PETER SAINSBURY

Editor
ANGELA MADDICK

Music
OLIVER LEDBURY

Colorist
ADRIAN RIGBY

Dubbing Editor
BEN JONES

Dubbing Mixer
ADAM PALMER

Scientific Advisor
IAN REDMOND

Researcher
JESSICA TOMBS

Production Team
ALEX BRIGGS
LYNN SINCLAIR

Tigress Productions Wishes to Thank:
THE FAMILY OF MARIA GRACÍA DE LUERA
CARME MATÉ I GARCÍA
BARCELONA ZOO
UNIVERSITY OF BARCELONA
SUZANNE WALES
BRITTA HOLDEN
MICHAEL POGANY AND PATTY PETERS
COLUMBUS ZOO
JEFF LYTTLE
STEVE FAIRCHILD AND KIT CROSBY
THE BRONX ZOO
WILDLIFE CONSERVATION SOCIETY
ALVIN CHARLES

Archive:
BARCELONA ZOO
BBC TELEVISION
THE BRONX ZOO
COLUMBUS ZOO
FOOTAGE FARM
ITN ARCHIVE / REUTERS
LAST REFUGE
MARTIN AND OSA JOHNSON SAFARI MUSEUM
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE
ORIOL MASPONS
QUICKFIRE
RTVE MADRID
TV3 BARCELONA
WORLD SOCIETY FOR THE PROTECTION OF ANIMALS

For NATURE

Series Editor
JANET HESS

Supervising Producer
JANICE YOUNG

Producers
JILL CLARKE
PATTY JACOBSON

Associate Producers
IRENE TEJARATCHI
GIANNA SAVOIE

Production Secretary
RACHAEL TEEL

Manager
EILEEN FRAHER

Production Manager
JULIE SCHAPIRO THORMAN

Online Editor
BRUNO PELLIGRINI
JAY SLOT

Sound Editor
BRIAN BEATRICE

Sound Mixer
ED CAMPBELL

Series Producer
BILL MURPHY

Executive in Charge
WILLIAM GRANT

Executive Producer
FRED KAUFMAN

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.

Web Credits

Producer
TANNER VEA

Director of Production
DANIEL B. GREENBERG

Designer
MICHAEL DIMAURO

Pagebuilding
BRIAN SANTALONE

Technical Director
BRIAN LEE

Writer
DAVID MALAKOFF

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.