An extremely rare spotless adult cheetah is seen in the Kenyan plains - the first time one has been sighted in nearly 100 years

They say a leopard never changes its spots but that doesn’t appear to be the case for its cheetah cousin.
For the first time in almost a century a spotless cheetah has been, er, spotted.

The mythical-like creature was discovered by a British wildlife photographer who set out to find it after several reported sightings.

Guy Combes, originally from Shaftesbury, Dorset, scoured 100,000 acres of land in Kenya using a Land Rover and even a plane before he tracked it down.

Guy, 41, got within 50 yards of the unique creature that had a plain sandy coat of fur with hundreds of small freckles on its back and no sign of black spots.

According to experts, the last recorded sighting of a spotless cheetah was in 1921.

And they believe the genetic throwback may actually help the young adult male thrive in the wild as it could be mistaken for a lion.

Guy said: ‘I didn’t think it likely that we would find the cheetah and after three days I gave up and went back to Nairobi.

‘I then got a call saying it had been seen again so I spent another two days searching.

‘It was on the last morning that a pilot who was assisting me spent 45 minutes circling an area so I bombed over to where it was and found the cheetah with its mum that had spots.

‘I was really excited as we managed to get about 50 yards away. It was one of the biggest rushes I’ve had in my life.

‘Not only was he a staggeringly beautiful animal but I knew that this was a privilege very few other people would ever have.

‘I didn’t expect to see it at all, the area we were going to search was 100,000 acres without borders and he could have easily been beyond that.

‘It was one of the biggest rushes I’ve ever had in my life.

‘He ran off after a while but only when a serval cat appeared and he took off after it.

‘The theory is that the recessive gene that causes the markings, or lack of them, is similar to the phenomenon that causes the markings on the ‘King’ cheetah of South Africa and Zimbabwe.

‘It was pretty exciting to be able to capture the cheetah and still is, as a wildlife artist it’s great and people are quite envious.’

Guy discovered the cheetah at the Athi Kapiti Conservancy in Kenya.

Danny Nineham, a big cat consultant from Gloucestershire said: ‘I haven’t seen a picture like this one before, I would say this cheetah is very rare indeed.

‘To the best of my knowledge and research it was 1921 when a cheetah like this was last seen.

‘The mutant cheetah like any mutant big cat are natural variations that sometimes occur due to spontaneous genetic changes in genes.

‘This colour would help this animal in the wild, as the lion and the puma have this same colour and they survive very well.’

John Pullen, curator of mammals at Marwell Zoo, near Winchester, Hants, said: ‘This is really like a rare skin issue where something has happened to the genetic coding that would give the normal patterning.

‘I haven’t seen a picture like this in cheetahs, every now and again a photo will turn up of an albino or meleanistic animal, more so than this type of coloration issue.

‘This sort of thing is always interesting and personal I love to see these variants that will turn up in the wild.’

Source Mail Online

The British photographer Guy Combes got within 50 yards of the cheetah after scouring more than 100,000 acres

Responses to "Rare cheetah without traditional markings sighted in wild for first time in nearly 100 years"

  1. Anonymous says:

    simply wonderful

  2. Danisegarder says:

    Wow that is beautiful hope if they do make a comeback the wild life society will put them as endangered so we'll continue to have these wonderful creatures

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