African World: Everyone loves a Strawberry Blonde…Leopard?

Why yes! Madikwe Private Game Reserve in South Africa has been keeping this remarkable cat under their hats but now National Geographic picked up a photo. We would expect that such an usually colored animal would be an easy target for predators while still young but the image shows a beautiful male leopard in excellent condition. From National Geographic; “Panthera [ed. a U.S.-based wild cat-conservation group] President Luke Hunter suspects the pale leopard has erythrism, a little-understood genetic condition that’s thought to cause either an overproduction of red pigments or an underproduction of dark pigments. “It’s really rare—I don’t know of another credible example in leopards,” said Hunter, whose group collaborates with National Geographic’s Big Cats Initiative. (The Society owns National Geographic News.) Hunter added, “it’s surprising that [a photo of the leopard] didn’t come out sooner, because he’s relatively used to vehicles.”” Want the chance to spot the strawberry blonde leopard on your African safari adventure? Contact us!
Photo courtesy of Deon De Villiers and National Geographic.

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