Extremely rare photos captured of a black leopard in Africa

Credit: Wikipedia

An animal photographer has recently been able to capture images of a black leopard in Kenya thanks to a photographic hide.  These are the first images of this animal in one hundred years.  In the images you can see the animal hunting it’s prey at night.

Will Burrard-Lucas is a renowned animal photographer that is used to photographic hides.  Hidden in these hides, the photographer has spent a large part of his life tracking the most secretive animals in the world including the black panther.  The photographer is also known for his astonishing shots taken of lions and hyenas.  However, the black leopard stayed hidden from view until these extremely rare photos were taken. While spending a few days in the the Laikipia Wilderness camp in Kenya the photographer managed to get what he was looking for.  He succeeded in capturing shots of this elusive and magnificent feline as it was hunting prey in the middle of the night.

A sublime animal

Will Burrard-Lucas explained that he left in cameras outside for several nights.  The first few days he saw nothing but a group of hyenas.  However his patience was finally rewarded.  “I glanced at the last hide without hoping for anything,” the photographer explained. “However I looked over the images, I stopped myself and looked at one of them in disbelief…a pair of eyes surrounded in darkness…it was a black panther! I couldn’t believe it.  It took a few days before I realised I had just succeeded in achieving my dream!”

The first images of a wild African black leopard in 100 years

The feline is a very magnificent but elusive animal.  It is very rare to find this animal in the region. “We have always heard that black leopards live in the region but we have no quality images that can prove or confirm their existence,” explains Nicholas Pilfold, from San Diego Zoo and the head of  the leopard conservation programme in Laikipia.  “Will’s photos are exceptionally rare in their detail and perceptiveness. They are the first confirmed images of the black leopard in Africa for almost 100 years and this region is the only known place in Africa where the black leopard is present.”

Black panthers in Asia and Africa are known as black leopards while in America they are known as jaguars.  Their black coat is caused by a melanistic colour variant which is when skin, feathers, scales or in this instance, fur is entirely black.  Despite the black colouring of their coat you can still make out the characteristic spots of a leopard.  These spots are like their unique digital print which can help to distinguish each animal.

See below for a film of a black leopard in Kenya.


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