The discovery of the first albino ocelot illustrates the consequences of deforestation on wildlife – VivAfrik

The discovery of the first albino ocelot illustrates the consequences of deforestation on wildlife – VivAfrik

The discovery of the first albino ocelot in Colombia is not good news since it illustrates the consequences of deforestation on wildlife. Indeed, an albino ocelot, the first specimen of its kind in the feline family, was discovered and collected in an animal park in Medellin, Colombia, more than a year ago. This discovery does not translate into anything good.

The director of the institution, Jorge Aubad confirmed that after months of genetic analysis, this feline was “the only case ever recorded in the world of an albino ocelot” in the world. In addition, scientists claim that the discovery of this animal is to be put down to the deforestation of the natural habitat of the feline in Colombia.

At first, biologists at the Medellin Conservation Park, where he was hosted, only presented the find as “extremely unusual”, without identifying the species of the animal.

Above all, this specimen is the result of the devastating effects of deforestation on a large part of the Colombian fauna. Indeed, the animal was discovered in Amalfi, in the northeast of Colombia, one of the areas most affected by deforestation according to a recent report published by the Colombian Ministry of the Environment. Enough for Jorge Aubad to affirm that the genetic mutation of the animal informs a worrying reality.

Due to deforestation, “populations [d’ocelots] isolate themselves”, which leads to “endogamy, reproduction between closely related members”, details Jorge Aubad. “Albinism, in this case, is transmitted because we have a problem of fragmentation” of the tropical forests where the animal species lives, adds the biologist.

According to experts, this specimen of nearly 13 kg could not survive in its natural habitat because of the color of its coat which exposes it to predators. He is also “completely blind”.

Recall that Amalfi, where the ocelot was found, is one of the areas most affected by deforestation in northeastern Colombia, noted the report published recently by the Colombian Ministry of the Environment. Colombia lost some 1,700 square kilometers of forest in 2021. This is the third year in a row that the area of ​​forest lost has increased.

Moctar FICOU / VivArik