Black leopard spotted in Africa for first time in 100 years

Black leopard spotted in Africa for first time in 100 years

Black leopard spotted in Africa for first time in 100 years

A wildlife photographer from the United Kingdom has captured images of a black leopard in Kenya. "Even when you talk to the older guys that were guides in Kenya many years ago, back when hunting was legal [in the 50s and 60s], there was a known thing that you didn't hunt black leopards".

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.

Contrary to popular belief, black panthers are not a species, the animals commonly referred to by these name are simply melanistic leopards and jaguars that have a mutation responsible for their dark or black coat.

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.

A black leopard raised in captivity at the The Rhino and Lion Nature Reserve in Johannesburg. However, as news of his find quickly spread across the continent, folks at the Ol Ari Nyiro Conservancy, about 30 miles west of Loisaba, produced their own photo of a black leopard, taken in 2007.

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"Almost everyone has a story about seeing one, it's such a mythical thing", says Mr Pilfold, of San Diego Zoo Global's Institute for Conservation Research. On returning, I checked them and by the time I got to the last camera, all I had seen were pictures of hyenas but no leopards.

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

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

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

In a video documenting his photography expedition, Burrard-Lucas filmed himself going to check the camera.

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Will took the unusual images using a Camtraptions Camera Trap - a camera which has a motion sensor to detect when animals are there.

Burrard-Lucas said in his release that he was always interested in black panthers.

Black leopards may have been living in Kenya all along, but there's been no footage to confirm the observations until now, Pilfold said. "Just the most stunning, spectacular creature I think I've ever photographed!"

In Africa, however, melanistic leopards are extremely rare.

"Coincidentally, our observations are very close to where the fantasy Marvel comic country of Wakanda is suggested to be located", he said.

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