Rare albino deer spotted in Kensington Metropark

George Hunter
The Detroit News
A rare albino doe crosses a street at Kensington Metropark

Howell — Russell Rheaume was driving through Kensington Metropark last week when he captured a glimpse — and, after fiddling with his smartphone, a photograph — of a rare albino deer. 

"I was driving through the park Thursday afternoon at about 3:30 (p.m.), when I got near the golf course and I saw a bunch of deer, and the albino was one of them," said Rheaume, 74 of Brighton Township.

"I got my smartphone out, and fumbled around trying to open the camera," he said. "I was having problems opening up the camera, and I kept pressing the button. Luckily, I was able to snap a picture, thank God."

Rheaume said he was coming from a nursing home, where he entertained residents with his singing and guitar-playing.

"I put on a skunk hat, and sing songs every month at about six nursing homes, and whether they like me or not, I show up," he joked. "I like to drive through Kensington on my way home. I was lucky that I happened to drive by when the albino deer was out, so I could take her picture."

State officials say the deer was born in the park two years ago. There have been sporadic sightings reported since then.

About one in 20,000 deer are born albino, or without pigment. Experts say they're easily killed by other predators because their color makes them stand out in foliage, and because they have poor eyesight.

Several states have banned or restricted killing albino deer, including Illinois, Iowa, Montana, Tennessee and Wisconsin. Michigan lifted its hunting ban in 2008.

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