A beautiful white kitten that grew up to be a big cat has been identified as the world’s first-ever wild albino ocelot.
The albino feline that was found as a kitten in Colombia would likely have survived in the wild because its white colour would have made it difficult to surprise prey.
It has since been handed over to Medellin’s Conservation Park, where it was believed it was a Jaguar.
But genetic testing has confirmed it is actually an ocelot, and the first ever albino specimen to be discovered in the country.
When found, the kitten weighed just 440 g (15.5 oz).
It has now been identified as an leopardus pardalis, one of the native species of ocelot that is found across the Americas.
They typically live up to 10 years and have a unique spotted leopard-type colouring like this specimen which has no colouration at all.
Colombia also has Jaguars and pumas with the ocelot the third-largest big cat to live in the country.
Park director Jorge Aubad said: “So far, this is the first known case in the world of an albino leopardus pardalis, an ocelot.”
When the female kittens was found, she needed a lot of treatment to bring a backup to health and as a result of being albino is also almost blind.
The park director added: “For us, we are proud to have this feline in Medellin, the only registered [one] in the world.
“Really, thanks very much to the park for having rehabilitated her, which allows us to come here and see her.”
Park authorities consider the animal to now be a healthy adult, weighing 12.8 kilograms (28.2 lbs) after being kept on a diet of no more than 700 g ((24,6 oz) of red meat and chicken a day, and in a specially adapted closure with small ponds so that she does not drown.
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