BUCARAMANGA, Colombia (HPD) — Colombia confirmed the first known case of an albino ocelot, after performing genetic tests on a cat with white fur and red eyes that remains under protection in Antioquia, in the northwest of the country.
The albino feline was found a year ago when she was still a cub weighing only 440 grams in the rural area of Amalfi —a municipality in Antioquia— and was initially provisionally identified as a puma yagouaroundi.
“The tests consisted of the sequencing of the cytochrome oxidase I (CO-I) and NADH dehydrogenase 5 (ND5) genes present in the mitochondrial genome, which differs between the different species of cats,” the authority explained Thursday in a statement. environment of Antioquia, Corantioquia.
With the genetic tests, its species leopardus pardalis, commonly known as ocelot, which lives from the forests and even the moors of the American continent, was confirmed. The species has been classified in the category of “least concern” on the red list of threatened species of the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
The feline, considered “extremely unusual”, reached adulthood and weighs 12.8 kilograms. Ocelots usually have brown fur, are carnivorous and hunters, however, the albino feline, given its recessive genetic mutation, could not be released into the wild due to its difficulty in camouflaging itself and blindness.
The Conservation Park, a private entity where the feline was sheltered, built low-rise furniture and shallow bodies of water given her total blindness. She is fed daily with 700 grams of red meat and chicken.
Ana Ligia Mora, director of Corantioquia, assured that albinism means that there may be an affectation of the ecosystems that is affecting the development of the species, for which she invited to take care of the forests and fauna in the country.