Another rare black Leopard spotted found in Laikipia, Kenya

The black leopard is incredibly rare

The mythical creature was captured by British wildlife photographer Will Burrard-Lucas, 35, while it was prowling around the plains of Kenya in the dead of night with a full moon looming above.

For the first time in a century, a rare melanistic leopard, commonly called a "black panther", has been photographed in Kenya.

Its wide eyes can be seen looking eagerly for prey, while leopard-like spots can vaguely be seen on its sooty coat, which is the result of melanism. While albinism causes whiteness due to a lack of pigmentation, the genetic variation melanism results in an excess of dark pigmentation.

He added: "As far as I know, this is the first series of high-quality camera trap images of a wild black leopard ever captured in Africa".

"I couldn't believe it and it took a few days before it sank in that I had achieved my dream".

"Almost everyone has a story about seeing one; it's such a mythical thing", says Nick Pinfold, of San Diego Zoo Global's Institute for Conservation Research.

Will Burrard-Lucas captured the images, which were released to the public on Monday, at the Laikipia Wilderness Camp in Kenya after hearing reports of sightings in the area.

"Thereafter the black leopard disappeared and I started capturing images of a big spotty male instead - apparently he had chased away the younger black leopard".

Curiosity Mars Rover expected to last 90 days lives 15 years
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Black leopards may have been living in Kenya all along, but there's been no footage to confirm the observations until now, Pilfold said.

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

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.

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.

When Pilford published his proof in the African Journal of Ecology in late January 2019, he believed it was the first such confirmed sighting in Africa since 1909, when a photograph was taken of a black cat in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

And while 11 percent of leopards alive today are thought to be melanistic, says Pilfold, most are found in Southeast Asia, where tropical forests offer an abundance of shade. "For me, no animal is shrouded in more mystery, no animal more elusive, and no animal more lovely", Lucas wrote.

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.

In Africa, however, melanistic leopards are extremely rare.


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