A male leopard in South Africa’s Madikwe Game Reserve is dazzling the gawking tourists with his strawberry locks. But watch out gazelles, this fair-furred feline has still got the spots to keep him camouflaged and make him a killer when he’s out on the prowl. They say a leopard can’t change his spots, but when you look as good as this pink panther, who would want to?
Tourists had reported seeing the fashion forward feline, but only recently Deon De Villiers, a photographer and safari guide, caught the kitty on film. He sent the photo to Panthera, a wild cat conservation group. The light-furred leopard may have erythrism said Panthera’s president Luke Hunter in National Geographic. Erythrism is a genetic condition believed to cause production of either too much red or too little dark pigment.
“It’s really rare—I don’t know of another credible example in leopards,” said Hunter. The leopard doesn’t seem to be suffering from his condition. “He’s obviously a successful animal,” Hunter said. The danger is if he leaves the borders of the preserve. Then his pale pelt could end up as a trophy hunter’s prize.