Jennifer Helman, a wildlife watcher and outdoors enthusiast who spends a lot of time in the PA Wilds captured this image in Benezette, Elk County, which turns out to be the first, documented case of a piebald elk in Pennsylvania.
DCNR found out about the elk when one of our Instagram followers tagged us in her photo of the elk and asked us what would cause the white fur on the elk’s face.
DCNR reached out to the Game Commission whose biologists were intrigued and excited by this image because they don’t recall ever seeing a piebald elk in Pa.; however, they determined it is similar to the piebald condition in deer.
The piebald condition is an inherited genetic trait that causes blotches of non-pigmented areas that vary in size and distribution. Piebald deer are reported at rates well under 1% in the population, which makes this sighting of this elk very rare.
This rare beauty was discovered thanks to one of our curious wildlife watchers and social media. If you are not following DCNR on social media, you can find us on Twitter, Like Us on Facebook, and visit DCNR on Instagram.
Click Here for a Game Commission map of elk viewing areas in northcentral PA. For more information on elk, visit the Game Commission’s Elk webpage.(Reprinted from the March 2 Resource newsletter newsletter from DCNR. Click Here to sign up for your own copy (bottom of the page).