Strawberry leopard in South Africa: how’s that for a news item?
It’s the rainbow nation, the land of the great unity, undivided by color, caste, or creed. It’s, after all, the majestic Mandela-land! And in the heart of the abode of the great ‘Madiba’ only fascinating adventures are known to unravel before one and all. South Africa is about as exciting as it is thrilling.
Now at a time where perhaps we are all aware of the animal with real killing instincts, the bright spotted, bejeweled regale creature, it must be asked what is a Strawberry leopard?
Apparently, just as a normal leopard has spots and lots of them, the Strawberry leopard has plenty of ginger-colored-spots, and therefore, it indeed is a rare find.
So recently the Strawberry leopard in South Africa caught the gaze of a couple after it was found feasting on a dead giraffe in a reserve.
As this couple- Alan Watson, 45 and his wife, Lynsey, 41- were enjoying their time at the famous Thabo Thalo Wildnerness Reserve, thankfully, on-the-feet-thinking permitted them to capture moving images of the Strawberry leopard in South Africa on their motion-sensitive camera.
Clicking exciting shots of the Strawberry leopard in South Africa, the couple pinned their camera to a tree which was located near where the big cat was feeding on its prey, the dead giraffe.
Eventually shocked by what the images finally captured-something that was anything but the blades of grass as speculated by the couple- Mr. Alan Watson was pleasantly thrilled and understandably so.
A wildlife enthusiast and a fan of the regale big cat, he also happens to be the owner of the Big Leopard Mountain Lodge located in the said reserve where along with his wife, he happened to spot the elusive cat.
Thrilled at the prospect of having spotted the Strawberry-colored cat, he shared the following:
As far as I know, this is the rarest color of leopard in the world. We hope she will bring new people to the lodge. A lot of people who come to spot wildlife in the area go away disappointed not to have seen a leopard. They are so well camouflaged and incredibly elusive. Even these ones, if they were going through the long grass you wouldn’t see them. If she doesn’t want to be seen, you aren’t going to see her.”
But all that said, there appears to be a genuine reason behind the appearance of the pink or ginger-colored spots on the skin of the leopard. The condition is owing to a genetic condition; a mutation called erythrism. Back in 2013, National Geographic even carried an informative article that attempted to breakdown and cover the reason behind the occurrence of the same.
It is believed that the spots occur owing to recessive genes, the ones that we find in ‘albino animals.’ Here’s for further information:
The mutation results when the animal overproduces red pigments or underproduces dark pigments.
In the past, the Strawberry leopards have been frequently (but inconsistently) spotted in South Africa. Past sightings have been reported at the Madikwe game reserve.