Recently, it was observed that some camera trap pictures taken back in the year 2013 in Brazil have captured the first ever confirmed case of a wild cougar with leucism.
These photos were captured in Serra dos National Park located in south eastern Brazil’s Atlantic Forest. After the pictures were captured, an article in the “Cat News” journal was published. That article also confirmed that this was a case of a wild cougar with leucism.
If you are wondering what is leucism, then here’s what you need to know about it. Leucism is an abnormal condition in which there is partial loss of pigmentation and this happens due to genetic mutation. Animals who have leucism usually have pale, patchy or white coloration of the hair, skin, scales, cuticles of feathers. However, this doesn’t affect the eyes of the animal.
A study conducted in 2018 confirmed that the pictured captured were of a leucistic puma. These were the very first pictures of these kind.
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As per the National Geographic, leucism and albinism are genetic color aberrations that are common among the wild cats. But there are no known reasons for this. In an interview, Luke Huter, who is the executive director of the Big Cats Program of the Wildlife Conservation Society said,
That shows you how extremely unusual it is. It’s a striking set of photos.
The leucistic puma was never spotted again after these pictures were clicked. Hunter also said,
My best guess is that the distant ancestor of pumas was uniformly colored, and that has been maintained in the species ever since. But that’s just a consequence of the randomness of mutation, the roll of the genetic dice.
Wild cats often suffer with leucism, but it is very rare in cougars. Here’s how people reacted to the pictures of the white puma.
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