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Boiseans mourn albino doe killed in Hill Road car crash. Are the animals really rare?

Kristin Link shared this photo of an albino doe on Hill Road to the North End Facebook group. The photo was taken by her husband, Chris.
Kristin Link shared this photo of an albino doe on Hill Road to the North End Facebook group. The photo was taken by her husband, Chris.

Late Tuesday night, hundreds of North Enders marveled at an image of an albino doe near Hill Road that was shared in the neighborhood’s Facebook group. Wednesday morning, Idaho Fish and Game conservation officer Bill London confirmed an albino deer was struck by a vehicle and killed on the same road.

There’s no way of knowing if the two animals were the same, London said, because while Boiseans are always excited to spot the snowy deer, they’re not exactly unusual in our area.

“We have this albino gene in the local herd, and it’s pretty cool that we have this little gene pool (nearby),” London said.

The albino gene is double-recessive, meaning two normal-colored deer can produce albino offspring if they mate. The white wildlife have been showing up regularly in the 20-plus years that London has worked in the Boise area, including a buck that was killed by a bowhunter last year.

London said the animal that died on Hill Road on Wednesday could’ve been the same in the Facebook photo, though at times three or four of the deer have been part of the Foothills herd at the same time. When Kristin Link posted the photo, she noted that there has been a lot of roadkill in that area recently and urged drivers to use caution.

London said Hill Road is “blood alley for deer,” and thanks to increasing population, a winding road and speeding drivers, multiple animals are struck by vehicles and die there each year. He wasn’t able to determine how old the albino deer was Wednesday.

“By the time I got out (to the scene), someone else had salvaged it,” London said. “The meat will go to good use.”

Commenters in the Facebook group on Wednesday expressed their sadness over the deer’s death. Some said that bystanders at the scene covered the deer with a blanket and laid down beside her.

For London’s part, he’s trying to find the positive.

“If you have an albino animal in your area, it’s a blessing,” he said. “Native Americans have said it’s good luck.”

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