Friday, 22 February 2019
Latest news
Main » Elusive black leopard spotted in Kenya for first time in 100 years

Elusive black leopard spotted in Kenya for first time in 100 years

13 February 2019

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.

What happened: Photographer Will Burrard-Lucas released extremely rare images that he captured in Africa of the black leopard, known as a black panther in Africa and Asia, walking around at night. It's the opposite of albinism - and although the leopard's coat appears black during the day, its rosette patterns are visible in nighttime infrared imagery.

Photographer Will Burrard-Lucas couldn't have been luckier when a big black cat crossed his path while snapping wildlife in Kenya last month.

The high-quality system made it possible to see the majestic black leopard, a rarely photographed big cat, despite it being dark. (Supplied) Black leopards are so rare in Africa, researchers don't know if the genetic mutation responsible for the dark pigmentation is the same one that underlies melanism in Southeast Asian leopards.

"This is not just because leopards are extremely secretive and hard to see, but also because only a tiny percentage of leopards are completely black".

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

Working in collaboration with biologists in the area, Burrard-Lucas went about installing camera traps.

Perhaps you're like me, and the first thing you thought when you saw the pics was, 'How the shit did he get that close to it?' Well, wonder no more.

He says that he used a plethora of camera traps each consisting of a Camtraptions wireless motion sensor, a high-quality DSLR camera and two or three flashes.

He explained: 'We had always heard about black leopard living in this region, but the stories were absent of high quality footage that could confirm their existence.

He said he left his cameras outside for several nights.

It's easy to think of black panthers as animals in their own right, but Will says that's not the case.

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

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.

"In South America it would be a melanistic jaguar - a black jaguar". The cat is so rare it has taken on an nearly mythical status, which is reflected by the fact the creature hadn't been photographed in Africa in nearly 100 years.

Elusive black leopard spotted in Kenya for first time in 100 years