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Puma Gives Birth to Rare Albino Cub in Nicaragua


Curled up in a zoo in central Nicaragua, eyes alert and ears pricked, a puma is nursing her month-old snow-white cub.

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The tiny, pink-nosed puma at Thomas Belt Zoo in Juigalpa marks the Central American country's first albino puma to be born in captivity and, according to estimates from zoo veterinarian Carlos Molina, one of only four worldwide.

Though the cub is healthy and eating well, Molina warned that it is still early days and that albino pumas require plenty of care and are vulnerable to sunlight.

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The cub and its two beige-colored and spotted siblings are being kept in a sealed cage so the mother does not become stressed or confuse human odors with that of the newborns, which could cause her to attack them.

Her mate is being kept in a separate enclosure, as male pumas have been known to kill their young.

The vet has not had any physical contact, and the genders of the litter remain unknown.

Once the cats reach three months of age, the zoo plans to exhibit them to the general public. Thomas Belt hosts some 50,000 to 60,000 visitors each year, according to zoo management.

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Pumas are found across the Americas, from the high Andean region of southern Peru to the jungles of Central America.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature says pumas have the largest geographic range of any land mammal in the Western hemisphere, though they were all but eliminated from the eastern half of North America after European colonization.

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