Black Leopard Pictured In Africa For First Time In Nearly 100 Years

Laikipia Wilderness Camp

Working in collaboration with biologists from San Diego Zoo in the area, Burrard-Lucas went about installing camera traps in a well-protected area where the black leopard was rumoured to frequent. Steve confirmed that it was true and he had seen several black leopards over the years.

This genetic variation, the opposite of albinism, results in an excess of dark pigmentation.

A British wildlife photographer has captured images of an extremely rare African black leopard.

"Black leopards are iconic creatures and yet very few images of wild black leopards exist", he said.

There isn't one. The black leopard could also be referred to as a black panther, as this is not a species but an umbrella term that simply refers to any big cat that has a black coat.

Pilford was then told of a black leopard at the Laikipia Wilderness Camp in Kenya - an area not known for the creature.

A wildlife photographer captured an image of a black leopard late at night, something that's fairly uncommon among wildlife enthusiasts.

The extremely rare sighting as well as capturing of a black leopard is believed to be the first of its kind on African soil for the first time in over 100 years.

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A black leopard lounging at the The Rhino and Lion Nature Reserve. All I can see is eyes but this is a black leopard emerging from the darkness.

After meeting with locals who had seen the animals, and following leopard tracks, Burrard-Lucas set up a Camtraptions camera trap that included wireless motion sensors, in the hope of photographing the animals at night.

Black leopards may have been living in Kenya all along, but there's been no footage to confirm the observations until now, Pilfold said.

The Brit said he couldn't believe it when he returned to one of the traps one day and saw a black leopard staring back at the camera lens. "Melanistic leopards have been reported in and around Kenya for decades, but scientific confirmation of their existence remains quite rare", states National Geographic on their website.

"This is what Will's photos and the videos on our remote cameras now prove, and are exceptionally rare in their detail and insight".

While there have been reports of sightings of black leopards the last confirmed observation was in Ethiopia more than a century ago, he said.

"A black panther is basically a melanistic big cat".

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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