It was a rare sight for residents of the Negev region in Israel when a wolf with striking white fur was spotted roaming the area. But upon closer examination, it was revealed that this wolf was not an albino wolf, its eyes are not red – rather, its unusual coloring was due to a condition called leucism, which results from a rare genetic combination that causes the animal to have white fur.
According to Dotan Rotem, an ecologist with the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, albinism can be problematic for smaller species that are preyed upon by larger animals, as they may be more visible in the wild. In addition, albinism has been known to cause skin diseases and other sensitivities.
This particular wolf was identified thanks to ground cameras set up by the Israel Parks and Nature Authority to study the behavior of wild animals in open areas of the Negev.
White wolves have been seen in Israel in the past, including in 2012 in Evrona, a nature preserve near Eilat, and in 2015 in Mishor Yemin, a nature park in the northern Negev. However, sightings of these majestic creatures are still quite rare, making this recent encounter all the more special.
Content from JNS was used in this report.