Stunning images capture rare black leopard in Africa

Stunning images capture rare black leopard in Africa

A rare female black leopard has been captured on camera in central Kenya, the first photographed in the wild for more than 100 years.

Will heard rumours of a black panther - which is a loose term for a black leopard or black jaguar, depending where in the world it's from - at the Laikipia Wilderness Camp in Kenya.

'Collectively these are the first confirmed images in almost 100 years of black leopard in Africa, and this region is the only known spot in all of Africa to have black leopard'.

The animal - whose coat is sooty black as a result of melanism, the opposite of albinism - is extremely rare.

The creature - of nearly mythical status - was captured on film by Kenya-based biologist Nick Pilfold using specialist equipment including wireless motion sensors and high-quality DSLR cameras.

"Over the days that followed I moved the camera traps around as I gained a deeper understanding of the leopard's movements".

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

"I couldn't believe it and it took a few days before it sank in that I had achieved my dream". The sighting was a first in 100 years, according to researchers.

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British publication The Guardian reports that Nicholas Pilfold, from the institute for conservation research at the San Diego Zoo, has written an article in the African Journal of Ecology about the new photographic evidence captured by Burrard-Lucas. "If you saw them, you didn't take it".

"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".

Slinking through the darkness, these stunning images show an ultra-rare black leopard in action.

That just makes the fact that Kenya, which seems to be the only place black panthers are found in Africa, is also near the location of the fictional country of Wakanda, home of the Marvel universe's Black Panther superhero, all the more striking.

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

The big cat was traveling with a much larger, more typically-colored yellow and black leopard, judged to be the juvenile's mother, Pilfold told National Geographic.

The veteran wildlife photographer was then able to set up his Camtraptions camera traps at the most ideal spots and waited it out.

Nine subspecies of leopard range across Africa and Asia, but melanistic versions of the cats are not evenly distributed between them.

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