A recent discovery was made regarding a wild cat that also happens to be a quite rare discovery. You might like reading cat articles on the internet, but we can assure you this one is much different than anything you’ve heard today.
Scientists have recently confirmed photos of a leucistic puma that were taken years ago, making headlines everywhere because of the rarity of this cat.
Four different camera pictures from 2013 have come back around on the internet and these photos depict the first time ever that a wild cougar has been confirmed with leucism. But after the camera picked up the initial photos of the cat, the rest of the story gets a little confusing, and intriguing. Let’s dive right into it!
Four pictures that tell an incredible story in Brazil
These pictures were snapped in Brazil’s Atlantic Forest 7 years ago, by a trap camera. Located in Serra dos Orgaos National Park, this animal appears to be quite extraordinary. An article was then written in the “Cat News” journal and confirmed that these were the first confirmed photos of a wild puma with leucism.
Now, what is leucism? You might be wondering, and we didn’t know either until we did some research. It can be defined as an abnormal condition that is caused by a genetic mutation. It is characterized by the loss of color in the pigmentation of the animal, but not the eyes.
Finally, just recently in 2018, a scientific journal conclusively deduced that these were the first photos of a leucistic puma
National Geographic reported that albinism and leucism are both extremely rare in pumas. They can happen all the time with other cats, but when it comes to pumas, it’s almost completely unheard of.
“That shows you how extremely unusual it is,” executive director of the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Big Cats Program Luke Hunter reported National Geographic. “It’s a striking set of photos.”
The animal completely disappeared, and nobody knows where it went…
Scientists are completely befuddled by the animal and its rarity.
“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,” Hunter continued in his conversation with National Geographic.
Who knows where this cat went?
“After the encounter in’13, the cat hasn’t been seen since. Nobody knows its whereabouts, even though people have gone looking for it. The camera trap monitoring project restarted last year, but we still have no new record of this animal or any other odd-colored pumas,” Cecília Cronemberger de Faria, who acts as an environmental analyst for the national park where the cat as originally spotted, shared with National Geographic.
Wherever the cat maybe now, it serves as a reminder to the scientific community that there are still unknowns in the science world, and that even more can be discovered when it comes to animal genetics and species.
Hopefully, one day, this cat will be located again so it can be studied. But if not, we are absolutely positive it’s living out its life as the cool guy on the block.
Just look at how beautiful it is! That cat has an absolutely stunning body and honestly looks fake because of his color.
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