Extremely rare white cougar highlights a quirk of the species
“Another white cougar may not appear in my lifetime,” scientist says of unusual young male spotted in Brazil’s Atlantic Forest.
Move over, black panther—there’s a white cougar in the limelight. Photographs recently resurfaced of a ghostly young male striding through Serra dos Órgãos National Park in southeastern Brazil’s Atlantic Forest. Taken in 2013, the photographs were the first confirmed case of a wild cougar with leucism, a genetic mutation that turns most of its body white.
“That shows you how extremely unusual it is,” says Luke Hunter, executive director of the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Big Cats Program and author of the book Wild Cats of the World. “It’s a striking set of photos.”
Genetic color aberrations, such as albinism and leucism, are relatively common among wild cats, but for unknown reasons, they’re almost unheard of in