Qattara Cheetah

Mystery big Cat of North Africa.

Physical description: Pale cheetah with a thick coat.

Distribution: The Qattara Depression, Egypt.

Significant sightings: Reports date back to the 1960s. A specimen was captured by a Bedouin shepherd in 1967.

Cheetahlike tracks were photographed on two occasions in the 1990s.

Possible explanation: An isolated morph population of Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) similar to a group known in the Aïr and Ténéré Natural Reserve, Niger.

Sources: Karl Amman, "Close Encounters of the Furred Kind," BBC Wildlife 11 (July 1993): 14-15; Richard Hoath, "A Deader Desert," BBC Wildlife 14 (September 1996).

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