Extremely Rare Black Leopard Captured on Camera in Kenya

Melanistic leopard

Before Pilford's picture, the only confirmed sighting of a black leopard in Africa was a photograph taken in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in 1909.

British wildlife photographer Will Burrard-Lucas, captured the images in the Laikipia Wilderness Camp in Kenya after hearing that there were sightings in surrounding areas, according to The Guardian.

"I left the cameras for several more nights".

"I had a quick look at the last trap, not expecting to find much", he wrote on his blog.

He's been fascinated with black panthers since he was a child, and in a blog post he said, "no animal is shrouded in more mystery, no animal more elusive and no animal more lovely".

The black leopard is one majestic looking cat. He used a series of motion sensors, which wirelessly triggered high quality digital cameras and two or three flashes. After following leopard tracks and meeting with locals who had seen the animals, Burrard-Lucas set up a Camtraptions camera trap.

Pilfold also pointed out the the location of the sighting is near where Marvel comics located its fictional country Wakanda, home of the character Black Panther.

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Will captured a spotted leopard on one of the camera traps, which could be the black leopard's dad.

Black leopards are usually associated with dense forests where their dark colouration is thought to help them hide in the shadows. According to San Diego Zoo Global, the spots show up in infrared imagery at night.

Image copyright Burrard-Lucas Photography Image caption Dad?

Black leopards are well documented in South East Asia, but little is known about their presence in Africa. And on the fourth night, he was able to snap high-quality photos of a black leopard - a sight he couldn't believe that he caught with his cameras.

A tiny minority of them have a genetic mutation called melanism that causes them to appear all black in the daylight. "It's been something rare and elusive and very hard to get".

Photographer Will Burrard-Lucas had heard murmurs about the potential presence of a black leopard roaming the area when he set up camp in Kenya. In real-life, however the black panther is a real creature who has almost mythic status thanks to having not been seen in nearly 100 years.

"By far, these are the best, most intimate images we have of a black leopard in Africa, there hasn't been anything like this before". "And then to get black leopards, wow, the first time I got that I was very, very happy, very surprised".

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