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Another rare black Leopard spotted found in Laikipia, Kenya

13 February, 2019, 16:55 | Author: Lucille Rivera
  • By Eddy Mwanza on 12 February 2019- 5:04 pm                              
  incredible
Laikipia Wilderness Camp Laikipia- Kenya Twitter

A British wildlife photographer has captured images of an extremely rare African black leopard.

Will Burrad-Lucas, 35, from Buckinghamshire, snapped the melanistic African leopard - which is around two-years-old - at Laikipia Wilderness Camp in Kenya last month.

The Guardian quotes Pilfold as saying that while there have been recorded reports of black leopards in Africa for more than a century, only one had been confirmed with photographic evidence, a 1909 photograph taken in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

According to National Geographic, the extremely rare animal has melanism, where the body produces too much pigment. The photographer used a Camtraptions camera trap and wireless motion sensors, which were strategically placed in order to capture the historic pics.

The images now accompany a paper detailing the confirmed black leopard recently published in the African Journal of Ecology.

Will Burrard-Lucas, who shot the images of the black leopard, described his longtime dream to photograph the big cat.

"I don't think it sank in immediately what I'd managed to achieve, it was such an unusual subject". 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. He said the black leopards are famous for killing livestock in the region, where they refer to them as "calf killers".

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"Usually on these camera trap photos with the flash you see the animal very clearly".

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.

The juvenile female was spotted traveling with a larger, normally coloured leopard, presumed to be her mother.

He said he left his cameras outside for several nights.

Melanistic leopards are iconic creatures with a movie themed around the mythical animal interestingly based within the hypothetical land of "Wakanda" in East Africa, the same region in which the actual black panther was spotted and captured on camera. "But as it blended in with the black night so well all I could see was these eyes staring out of the picture", he described to the BBC.

"I first heard about the black leopard when I was growing up from the stories of elders, but I didn't believe it at all until I saw it myself", he told CNN.

Nine subspecies of leopard range across Africa and Asia, but melanistic versions of the cats are not evenly distributed between them.

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