A zoo in Nicaragua recently experienced a remarkably rare circumstance with the birth of an albino Puma cub. Experts estimate it is one of only four worldwide.
The birth of the little puma is the first in the country. According to Carlos Molina, the veterinarian at Juigalpa's Thomas Belt Zoo, this is one of an estimated four albino pumas in the world.
He reported to Reuters that the cub is currently healthy and eating normally, but he warned that cougar pups must be constantly monitored and that the albinos are extremely sensitive to sunlight.
The yet-to-be-named cub is kept in a separate enclosure from its mother along with its two beige siblings. She might confuse their scents with those of humans and possibly attack her relatives.
Their father is also separated. Male cougars are also known to kill their children. Once the cubs are three months old, they are put on display to the public.
Pumas are found throughout southern and North America, but largely disappeared from eastern North America after European colonization. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, cougars have the largest geographic range of any land mammal in the Western Hemisphere. In captivity, pumas can live up to 27 years. In the wild, they usually live only 6-13 years. The greatest threats to wild pumas are sport hunters and car accidents.