The Internet has recently been perplexed by a series of amazing photographs of an exceptionally uncommon white cougar. The four photos were shot in 2013, but they were just revived after experts confirmed that this was the first occurrence of a leucistic puma ever documented. The photographs were captured using a trap camera in the Serra dos rgos National Park in Brazil’s Atlantic Forest.
Even while albinism, leucism, and even melanism are common in wild cats, there have never been any reports of cougars with these genetic disorders. Scientists are still baffled as to why this is.
Luke Hunter, executive director of the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Big Cats Program, told National Geographic, “That tells you how extraordinarily unique it is.” “My best opinion is that pumas’ distant progenitor was evenly colored, and the species has retained that coloration ever since.” But that’s only a side effect of mutation’s unpredictability, the genetic dice roll.”
This first occurrence of cougar leucism would have helped researchers understand why this hereditary color aberration happens so seldom, but the uncommon cat was never sighted again after the original encounter in 2013. “We launched the video trap monitoring project last year, but no fresh record of this animal or any other odd-colored pumas,” Ceclia Cronemberger de Faria, environmental analyst at Serra dos rgos National Park, told National Geographic.
Albinism, melanism, and leucism affect wild animals in a variety of ways, and they encounter a variety of obstacles. They are particularly susceptible in the presence of predators, and their communities typically reject them.