“Strawberry” and average African leopard (Panthera pardus)
African leopards normally have tawny coats with black spots. But a male leopard with a strawberry-colored coat has been spotted inSouth Africa’sMadikwe Game Reserve, conservationists announced this week.
Tourists in the reserve had occasionally seen the unusual animal. But it wasn’t until recently that photographer and safari guideDeon De Villierssent a photograph to experts at Panthera, a U.S.-based wild cat-conservation group, to ask them about the leopard’s odd coloration.
Panthera 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.
(note: I apologize for my absence! Occasionally I lose interest in things for chunks of times. Erythrism is a new term I’ve been trying to understand a bit better, so I apologize in advance if I confuse it with leucism)
(Source: National Geographic)