A zoo official believes the all-white cub is one of only four pumas with albinism in the world
A zoo in Nicaragua experienced something out of the ordinary: a puma giving birth to an albino cub.
The Thomas Belt Zoo in Juigalpa announced that the surprising birth occurred last month, Reuters reported. Carlos Molina, a veterinarian at the zoo, believes that the snow white puma cub is one of only four pumas with albinism worldwide, per the outlet.
"He is healthy, his body is in good condition," Molina told AFP of the male cub.
According to the National Wildlife Federation, the body of a puma, also known as a mountain lion, is generally covered in tawny-beige fur except for a whitish-gray belly and chest.
The genetic mutation responsible for the baby animal's all-white pigmentation is a rarity for the species. Molina told AFP, "We are happy to have it because you don't see this very often."
Molina said the cub has a vulnerability to sunlight, per Reuters. The outlet also reported that the cub and its beige-colored siblings are being kept in a sealed enclosure as a precaution. The zoo told Reuters that the mother puma could attack her cubs if she confuses human odors with the scent coming from her kids.
If raised in captivity, the puma's life span can last 21 years, according to the National Wildlife Federation.
At the moment, the albino cub is living in a private enclosure. In an August 22 Facebook post, the zoo wrote: "The director of the Thomas Belt Zoo informs the families of Chontales, Nicaragua and the media that, on the recommendations of the veterinarian of our institution, access is being restricted to the cubicle where the cougar born with the rare condition is being hosted of albinism."
"We are an institution committed to animal welfare, and we are striving to provide the best conditions the breed requires for its survival. We hope to allow your appreciation and enjoyment in a little while," the post continued.
PEOPLE reached out to the Thomas Belt Zoo for additional comment.
In another rare animal birth, the Brights Zoo in Tennessee recently announced it welcomed a solid brown baby giraffe with no spots on July 31. According to the facility's founder, Tony Bright, the last record of the birth of a spotless giraffe occurred in 1972 in Tokyo.
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"Giraffe experts believe she is the only solid-colored reticulated giraffe living anywhere on the planet," Bright said of the female calf, who is already six feet tall.
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