A white-furred wolf is always a rare sighting, especially in Israel's Negev desert.
The most recent documentation of a white wolf was made possible thanks to a ground camera set up by the Nature and Parks Authority in the Negev region. What is even more exceptional, is that the animal was not an albino, like many white-furred wolves are.
"At first glance you would think it was an albino wolf," said Open Spaces Ecologist at the Nature and Parks Authority Dotan Rotem.
"In general, the phenomenon of albinism, which is a relatively rare natural phenomenon that is characterized by white color of the skin and hair, is caused because the melanin pigment found in the skin does not manifest itself due to a genetic defect," he said."In small species, which are prey for big species, albinism can be disadvantageous because it makes them stand out more."
The wolf spotted in the Negev seemingly has a different condition that caused the partial loss of pigmentation, called leucism. Similar to albinism, leucism results in white, pale, or patchy coloration of the skin, hair, feathers, scales or cuticles. However, albino animals have pink eyes, while the iris pigmentation of leucistic animals remains dark.
This is not the first time white wolves were documented in Israel. In 2012 a white wolf was spotted at the Evrona Nature Reserve, and in 2015 a female white wolf was seen at the Mishor Yamin plateau. Shortly after, her puppies were also caught on camera.
The Nature and Parks Authority prefer not to disclose the exact location in which the wolf was pictured, due to concerns that curious civilians would disturb the wildlife.