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Albino jackal spotted in Iran

22/08/2013 08:37:12

A white, probably albino, jackal, spotted in Iran by the Iranian Cheetah Society.

White jackal caught by camera trap
July 2013. An (probably) albino jackal, a medium-sized canid which is widespread in western Asia, has been caught on camera in south-eastern Iran during a research project into the population survey of the Asiatic cheetah in the Ravar Wildlife Refuge.

Albinism is a congenital disorder characterized by the complete or partial absence of pigment in the skin, hair and eyes. Albinism results from inheritance of recessive gene alleles and is known to affect all vertebrates, including humans. Albinism has not been common among golden jackals but there are few cases from west Asia dating back to 1970s. In contrast, recently melanistic golden jackal has been also reported from Turkey.

A ‘true' albino has no colouring at all, and many features such as eyes and ears, appear pink. This jackal does have a hint of colouring around the eyes and nose, so it may be ‘leucistic', or more probably, this is just a trick of the light as the image is taken at night.

Leucism (or Leukism) 
Leucism is a very unusual condition whereby the pigmentation cells in an animal or bird fail to develop properly. This can result in unusual white patches appearing on the animal, or, more rarely, completely white creatures. 


Click here to see our gallery of albino and leucistic animals and birds.   

Ravar Wildlife Refuge
With an area of 15,000 km2, Ravar Wildlife Refuge is part of the Asiatic cheetah monitoring program that the Iranian Cheetah Society (ICS) leads within multiple reserves in Iran in partnership with Iranian Department of Environment, Conservation of Asiatic Cheetah Project (CACP) and Panthera. Since early autumn 2012, the ICS' experts have been surveying the area while training game wardens with monitoring skills. However, unlike other cheetah habitats in the country, Ravar is not an easy area to do field surveys, as it is near the border with Afghanistan and has a high chance of encountering drug smuggling caravans. The project will continue until the end of summer 2013.

Images courtesy of the Iranian Cheetah Society 


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