Stunning images capture rare black leopard in Africa

Stunning images capture rare black leopard in Africa

Stunning images capture rare black leopard in Africa

Burrard-Lucas said it had been his dream to photograph the black leopard since childhood.

While albinism causes whiteness due to a lack of pigmentation, the genetic variation melanism results in an excess of dark pigmentation.

These remarkable images, said to be the first clear ones in 100 years of the creature, show the leopard out hunting for prey.

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".

Wildlife photographer Will Burrard-Lucas managed it - and it's thought to be the first time anyone has captured a melanistic leopard on camera in Africa in 100 years.

It took about four days before he finally got his big break and captured a wild black leopard, an accomplishment that hasn't been equalled in possibly a century.

This is the second black panther to be spotted in Laikipia after a similar discovery was recorded by then Nation photojournalist Phoebe Okall in 2013 at Ol Jogi Conservancy. "When I heard that a black leopard had been seen up at Laikipia Wilderness Camp in Kenya my ears pricked up and I contacted the owners Steve and Annabelle Carey to find out more", Will revealed in his blog post.

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Pilfold is part of a team from the San Diego Zoo working with local partners, including the Kenya Wildlife Service, to monitor leopard populations in the area to help preserve the species. All I can see is eyes but this is a black leopard emerging from the darkness.

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.

"I left the cameras for several more nights".

"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.

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

The Brit said he couldn't believe it when he returned to one of the traps one day and saw a black leopard staring back at the camera lens.

The photographer said: "I took the photos last month and believe the Black Panther, in this case a melanistic African leopard, is around two years old. Melanistic leopards have been reported in and around Kenya for decades, but scientific confirmation of their existence remains quite rare", states National Geographic on their website.

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