A set of amazing pictures featuring a very uncommon white cougar has gone viral on the internet. These four photos were captured in 2013, but they’ve become popular again because scientists have verified that this is the first documented instance of a leucistic puma. The pictures were captured using a trap camera in Serra dos Órgãos National Park, a protected area in Brazil’s Atlantic Forest.
Although genetic conditions like albinism, leucism, and melanism are common in wild cats, cougars have never been observed with these traits. This has puzzled scientists as the reason for this remains unknown.
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The director of the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Big Cats Program, Luke Hunter, told National Geographic that the white puma’s rarity indicates its rareness. According to him, this is because pumas’ progenitors were likely all of a single color, and this trait has persisted in the species over time due to random genetic changes. Essentially, it’s like rolling the dice; the result is occasionally uncommon and unexpected.
In 2013, researchers found a very special cougar with leucism, a rare condition affecting its fur color. This discovery was important because it could have given us more information about why leucism rarely happens in cougars. However, since 2013, this is the first time anyone has seen this special cougar again, even though scientists have been looking for it. They are using camera traps to find it but have yet to find it. Cecília Cronemberger de Faria, an expert in environmental analysis at Serra dos Órgãos National Park, said to National Geographic that even though they started looking again in 2022, they still haven’t found any odd-colored pumas.
The distinctive coloring of wild animals with albinism, melanism, or leucism makes them unique and attractive. But, because of their circumstance, they encounter numerous challenges. These animals frequently struggle to integrate into their communities and are quite vulnerable to predators. Their peers often reject them despite their outstanding appearance.
These are other pictures capturing the beauty and uniqueness of leucistic animals.
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