Kenya: First Photographs of An African Black Leopard in 100 Years

Kenya: First Photographs of An African Black Leopard in 100 Years

Kenya: First Photographs of An African Black Leopard in 100 Years

Burrard-Lucas said he shot the images at Laikipia Wilderness Camp using a Camtraptions Camera, which focuses on wildlife photography and footage.

The black leopard was spotted and photographed near Loisaba Conservancy in Laikipia by biologist Nick Pilfold, a discovery which cements Kenya as a natural tourist destination.

Researchers at San Diego Zoo Global and Loisaba Conservancy have confirmed the presence of a rare black leopard living in Laikipia County, a first in 100 years.

Black leopards are a result of a genetic mutation called melanism.

Burrard-Lucas said he used a Camtraptions Camera Trap and set it on a path that the leopard appeared to be using. All I can see is eyes but this is a black leopard emerging from the darkness.

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.

In his video, we can see Burrard-Lucas returning to the camera traps to check the footage.

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

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For those who have watched the famous Black Panther movie, it is easy to think that just seeing the photo of such a handsome creature gives all manner of wakanda vibes.

Speaking to Kenyans.co.ke, Annabelle Carey was audibly excited when asked about the rare sighting of the melanistic leopard close to their camp.

Photo Courtesy of William Burrard-LucasThe sighting came as a pleasantly unexpected surprise to Burrard-Lucas.

The photos were published in January in the African Journal of Ecology.

After learning that several had been spotted in the Laikipia area of Kenya - the only area thought to have black leopards in all of Africa - he made a decision to investigate further and set up an expedition this January. "I couldn't believe it and it took a few days before it sank in that I had achieved my dream", he writes. Conservation scientist Nicholas Pilford estimates that only 11 per cent of the world's leopards have it.

"Since childhood I have been fascinated by stories of black leopards. However, despite African leopards having the largest remaining range out of any of the subspecies, there has only been one confirmed case of melanism prior to these images", he told the Daily Mail.

"By far, these are the best, most intimate images we have of a black leopard in Africa, there hasn't been anything like this before". "So black jaguars in South America, for example, are a type of black panther".

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