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Extremely Rare ‘strawberry’ Leopard Photographed In South Africa



Have you ever heard of a strawberry leopard? I’m from South Africa and have lived on a farm with leopard in the wild, and I haven’t! That’s how rare they are.

The top image shows a strawberry leopard with the recessive red pigmentation phenotype and the bottom image shows a leopard with the dominant brown pigmentation phenotype.

Alan Watson and his wife Lynsey at the Thaba Tholo Wilderness Reserve in South Africa, managed to snap some photos of the illusive leopard feasting on a dead giraffe after setting up a motion-sensitive camera.

According to the Daily Mail, these are the first photographs of a “strawberry” leopard eating in the wild.

Obviously shocked at the images they managed to capture, Alan said: “We thought we might get photos of blades of grass, 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,” he continued. “If she doesn’t want to be seen, you aren’t going to see her.”

Alan owns the Black Leopard Mountain Lodge located in the reserve and this is a first for him or his wife. The “strawberry” leopard was apparently first discovered in 2012 on the border of Botswana.

The reason these leopards have a pink tinge or hue is thanks to Erythrism, which is actually a genetic mutation, it’s similar to the gene that affects albino animals, however, with strawberry animals, the mutation results when there is an overproduction of red pigments or underproduction of dark pigments.

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