Rare black leopard photographed for first time in 110 years


"Collectively, these are the first confirmed images in almost 100 years of a black leopard in Africa", said Nicholas Pilfold of the San Diego team, also lead researcher for a leopard conservation program in Laikipia County.

"We are very excited to hear that these camera traps have captured rare footage of melanistic leopards, otherwise known as black panthers!" the conservancy said on its website.

According to National Geographic, biologist Nick Pilfold captured the rarest of big cats in a camera trap set up in Loisaba Conservancy after a tip that a "panther " had been seen several times in that area. These were placed in areas the black leopard was rumoured to frequent.

Burrard-Lucas used a series of Camtraptions camera traps, a system he devised, that included a wireless motion sensor and a high-quality camera.

Despite such intense planning and precise work, Mr Burrard-Lucas was surprised by what he was able to capture using a Camptraptions Camera Trap.

Pilford has been delighted at the fact his published research coincides with the recent boom of black panthers in pop culture, which includes Marvel's 2018 film "Black Panther".

A wildlife photographer has captured incredible photos of an extremely rare black leopard roaming in Kenya. "If you saw them, you didn't take it". According to San Diego Zoo Global, the spots show up in infrared imagery at night.

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A black leopard lounging at the The Rhino and Lion Nature Reserve.

In a blog post, Will Burrard-Lucus tells the story of hearing how a black leopard had been sighted in Laikipia Wilderness Camp in Kenya.

Melanism is the opposite of albinism: it's when a gene is selected that causes a surplus of pigment instead of its absence, resulting in a black-on-black fur, although the patterns of the animals are often still discernible, as in Pilford's photo of the panther.

"I never get my hopes up, and after the first couple of nights I hadn't got this leopard and I was beginning to think I'd be lucky if I get a photo of a spotty leopard, let alone this black one". The elder told him he had seen a black leopard, which he said are known in the Samburu language as "calf killers".

Image copyright Burrard-Lucas Photography Image caption Dad?

The black leopard could also be referred to as a black panther, as this is an umbrella term that simply refers to any big cat that has a black coat.

"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".