Reuben David’s interest in white and albino birds, animals and reptiles. (From study material collected by the zoologist, the late Padmashree Reuben David, creator of the Ahmedabad zoo – 1912-1989)
Padmashree Reuben David (1912-1989) was known as a miracle-man and the gentle animal keeper of Ahmedabad. He created one of the most remarkable zoos in India and was awarded the Padmashree in 1975.
He spent a lifetime collecting information about albino and white animals and birds of the world. Before his death, he was planning to write a book on the subject with the help of his granddaughter Amrita and wanted to dedicate the book to his wife late Sarah David. As this was not possible, his daughter Esther David has compiled some images with cooperation from the authorities of the Kamala Nehru zoological park and the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation, and are including these i this website as his memory.
About Albino birds and animals – the word albino is derived from the word ‘Albus,’ meaning white. Albinism is the result of a deficiency in pigmentation in skin, eyes, hair and feathers. Albino specimens stand out because of their snow-white colour, pink nose, ruby-red eyes, pink tinge in the inside of the ears and light coloured hooves.
In contrast to albinism, excess of dark pigmentation causes melanism in birds and animals and they have a dark black colour.
Albino birds and animals immediately attract attention as they lack camouflage and become easy prey to predators and poachers.
Normal Gorilla with twins one lighter in colour than the other.
Spotted Zebra. Normal Zebra with twins, one lighter than the other. Normal Hippopotamus with twins, one lighter than the other
White Lion of Timbavati
White Lions were bred in South Africa in the Timbavati nature reserve. They were born in a normal litter of African Lions.
This Black Panther was at Kamla Nehru zoological Park, Ahmedabad from the sixties to seventies. The black colour was due to Melanisim or excess of dark pigmentation, in which the dark rosettes on the Panther; appear to be darker in colour.
Albino Palm Civet
Reuben David feeding a rare albino Palm Civet, which was his pet at the Kamala Nehru zoological park in the late seventies. Normal Civet cats are brownish gray in colour. But, this Civet was a true snow-white albino with red eyes.
Albino House Crow
The albino Crow feeding from Reuben David’s mouth, was snow-white all over and had a pink beak with pink legs and red eyes.
A white crow is often attacked by normal crows because of its colour.
Albino Common Mynah, Albino greater Hill Mynah, Albino Sparrows, Albino Babblers.
These are the common birds from our garden, but sometimes because of their colour, they are often attacked by birds of their own feather; as they see the albino birds as strange and cannot recognize them.
A white Cobra is considered to be a divinity.
Animal lovers are ready to pay any price to own this unusual reptile.
Albino Spotted Deer
Albino Spotted Deer were bred at the Kamla Nehru zoological park between the sixties and seventies. Albino deer have white colour and red eyes.
(From study material collected by the zoologist, the late Padmashree Reuben David, creator of the Ahmedabad zoo-1912-1989)
These twin white Wallabies were born in a Sydney zoo. They range in colour from reddish brown to gray.
The Peacock, India’s national bird looks equally beautiful with its white plumage. Since the seventies, they have made a home for themselves at the Kamla Nehru zoological park, Ahmedabad.
Albino Five striped Squirrel, Albino golden Squirrel, Albino Palla’s Squirrel
These playful snow-white squirrels with pink eyes lived in the Kamala Nehru zoological gardens for many years since the seventies.
This spotless white Giraffe was born in a Tokyo zoo in the seventies. Later two more spotless Giraffes were seen in a national park in Uganda.
Sometimes, baby albino Otters look like fish and become an easy target for poachers looking for its priceless skin.
This unique Zebra was seen in a national park in Tanzania. It had white dots and dashes, instead of the normal black stripes.
This blue-eyed white Indian Python was collected from Calcutta and sold to an animal dealer in the U.S.A. Whenever a white reptile is found, it is considered to be a divinity.
White Elephants are supposed to be incarnations of Airavat, the vehicle of Lord Indra and have great religious significance in the East as it is also connected with the birth of Gautam Buddha. White Elephants are venerated like gods in Burma and Thailand.
A white Crocodile was first born in a zoo in Orissa, where other white Crocodiles were also bred in captivity. Later, another white Crocodile was spotted in Thailand.
The albino Rhinoceros is supposed to be a divinity. But, in the wild, it has to be protected as it is often hunted for it’s priceless horn.
Bambi – the albino Chinkara
Chinkara’s belong to the Gazelle family. Bambi was snow white with pink eyes and was abandoned by the mother because of the white colour. Bambi was brought up in the Kamala Nehru zoological park in the seventies by Reuben David.
White Black Buck or Indian Antelope
Black Bucks are handsome animals with long spirals horns and a rich brown coat. All the white Black Bucks born at the Kamala Nehru zoological park in the sixties were off-white in colour and had brown eyes.
This velvet-black Panther was at the Kamla Nehru zoological park from the early sixties to late seventies. The black colour was due to Melanism or excess dark pigmentation and the rosettes on the body appear to be darker in colour.
Reuben David brought this camel from a caravan of a wandering tribe from North Gujarat.
This beautiful albino Owl was part of the Kamla Nehru zoological park in the eighties.
Albino Indian Porcupine
The albino Porcupine has snow-white spine bristles; it has rose-pink eyes and white nails. The albino Porcupine was first bred at the Kamala Nehru zoological park, Ahmedabad in the early eighties. The family of albino Porcupines have since grown and are exhibited at the zoo.
A white Tiger was first captured from the forests of Rewa in Madhya Pradesh. More recently, a white Tiger is exhibited at the Kamala Nehru zoological park.
Albino Kangaroos are rare and this particular Kangaroo was born in an Australian zoo. It had a full white colour, pink eyes, white eyelashes, pink toes and white nails.
White Lowland Gorilla
This rare white Gorilla was found in Equatorial Guinea and later sent to the Barcelona zoo in Spain. The Gorilla has a rose coloured skin , snow-white hair and sky blue eyes.