A rare black female leopard was photographed walking through the jungles in Kenya. Researchers at San Diego Zoo Global recently confirmed the presence of black leopards in Laikipia Wilderness Camp in Kenya. Brtish wildlife photographer Will Burrard-Lucas after hearing reports of leopard sightings in the area left his cameras there overnight which captured the photos.
This is the first time in the past 100 years a black leopard has been caught on camera properly in Africa. The photos show the wide-eyed animal with velvety-like coat clearly looking for prey. It is the excess of melanism that makes its coat shine. It is the result of an excess of dark pigmentation which causes this genetic variation. Leopard Spotted in Aurangabad's Khuldabad Ghat by Car Passengers? Video of Wild Cat Goes Viral.
Talking about the experience Burrard-Lucas in his blog writes, "I deployed a plethora of camera traps each consisting of a Camtraptions wireless motion sensor, a high-quality DSLR camera and two or three flashes. The next day I eagerly checked the cameras but had no images of leopards. I was disheartened and suddenly felt the enormity of what I was trying to achieve."
Black leopard captured by Will Burrard-Lucas:
In all its glory!
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He further writes, "I had a quick look at the last trap, not expecting to find much. As I scrolled through the images on the back of the camera, I paused and peered at the photograph below in incomprehension… a pair of eyes surrounded by inky darkness… a black leopard! I couldn't believe it and it took a few days before it sank in that I had achieved my dream."
Watch the video below:
Nicholas Pilfold, Pilfold PhD, a biologist with San Diego Zoo Global, authored an article in the African Journal of Ecology stating about the photographic evidence by Burrard-Lucas. Pilfold in Wiley Online Library writes that there have been recorded reports of black leopards in Africa for more than a century. But, there had only been one photographic evidence, a 1909 photograph taken in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. You can read it here.