Elusive black leopard spotted in Kenya for first time in 100 years

Melanistic leopard

(Supplied) Black leopards are so rare in Africa, researchers don't know if the genetic mutation responsible for the dark pigmentation is the same one that underlies melanism in Southeast Asian leopards. Four of these observations were at night with infrared imaging, which confirmed the animal's rosette patterning.

Burrard-Lucas was trying to spot the leopard for several days without success when he finally returned to his cameras to find a striking image.

"For me, no animal is shrouded in more mystery, no animal more elusive, and no animal more attractive", the photographer described in a blog post. "It's been something rare and elusive and very hard to get". "Just the most stunning, spectacular creature I think I've ever photographed!"

An ultra-rare black leopard - with a silky-looking, shiny coat - was spotted in Africa for the first time in more than 100 years, and the wildlife photographer who captured the elusive big cat credits the sighting simply to dumb luck.

"The biggest challenge in this project was knowing where to put my camera traps".

The findings from the Camtraptions remote cameras were recently published in the Journal of African Ecology.

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened Species, leopards are critically endangered. In real-life, however the black panther is a real creature who has almost mythic status thanks to having not been seen in nearly 100 years.

"Coincidentally, our observations are very close to where the fantasy Marvel comic country of Wakanda is suggested to be located", he said.

He's been fascinated with black panthers since he was a child, and in a blog post he said, "no animal is shrouded in more mystery, no animal more elusive and no animal more lovely". Scientists wanted to better understand the dynamics of the leopard population in Loisaba, as well as the different causes of human-wildlife conflict.

However, he went on to note that he's "not claiming that these are the first photos of a black leopard taken in Africa". The team then set up a camera trap in that location.

"I do, however, believe that they are the first close-up, high-quality photographs", he said. "As a local, people have always been talking about the black leopard".

"Rare and unique sightings like this inspire people to protect", Pilford told CBS News, adding that this kind of attention will benefit conservation in Kenya.

Kahumbu congratulated Letoluai for helping spearhead the global project.

Related news:

Hot News

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Trump says could let deadline for inking trade deal with China slide
Feb 14, 2019 - 07:16
President Trump has also said he's unlikely to meet President Xi Jinping before the deadline, dampening hopes of a speedy resolution.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Highlights | Round 4 | AT&T Pebble Beach 2019
Feb 14, 2019 - 06:28
Casey's only hope was for Mickelson to make a mistake on the closing holes, and there was little chance of that. The greens were beat up (on Sunday). "Sometimes I get in my own bubble", Mickelson said.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Jennifer Lopez Defends Heavily Criticized Grammys Motown Tribute
Feb 14, 2019 - 05:25
In addition to Robinson and Ne-Yo, Lopez got a little help from her friend Alicia Keys during the tribute, too. Smokey Robinson , who joined Lopez on stage Sunday, defended her during a pre-Grammy gala on Saturday.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Brad Pitt Sent Jennifer Aniston a Gift Before Her 50th Birthday Party
Feb 14, 2019 - 03:26
Jennifer Aniston hasn't aged a day since we saw her in American sitcom " Friends ". The source said that she "didn't really pay any special attention to Brad".

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top England’s World Cup-Winning Goalkeeper Gordon Banks Has Died
Feb 13, 2019 - 04:49
While his slender frame meant he was not the most imposing of goalkeepers, Banks's movement and agility saw him command his area. But he joked that the former Stoke goalkeeper, who won the League Cup in 1972, should have caught the ball when denying Pele .

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Kylie Jenner throws baby Stormi an epic carnival birthday party
Feb 13, 2019 - 04:44
We're loving the way that the satin fabric succeeds in keeping it demure yet...oops, she did it again! Jenner previously addressed whether or not Norman is still around following Stormi's birth past year .

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top George Clooney defends Duchess of Sussex
Feb 13, 2019 - 04:38
But she's eight months pregnant, and vilified and persecuted her as Diana. Ecksand describes the jewel as "a ruby like you've never seen before".

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Trump taunts Iran on 40th anniversary of Islamic Revolution
Feb 13, 2019 - 04:35
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks during a ceremony celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution. In January, President Hassan Rouhani said Iran was facing its worst economic crisis since the Shah was toppled.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Four-time All Pro Antonio Brown intends to 'move on' from Steelers
Feb 13, 2019 - 04:30
Last month, two lawsuits were filed against Brown after he allegedly threw furniture from his 14th-floor apartment. Brown, 30, is under contract until 2021 and if traded he will have a cap hit of over $15 million for his new team.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Trump calls on Ilhan Omar to resign over 'anti-Semitic' tweets
Feb 13, 2019 - 01:30
The controversy over Omar's remarks stretched beyond Capitol Hill to the crowded Democratic presidential race. She said the statement came in the context of Israel's treatment of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Keralite woman among 17 killed in Delhi hotel blaze
Feb 12, 2019 - 12:49
In 2017, 14 people were killed, also in Mumbai, when a huge blaze tore through a popular restaurant. Fire fighters searched rooms and toilets to ensure that no one was left trapped, Mishra said.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Kyler Murray is picking football over baseball
Feb 12, 2019 - 12:46
Kyler Murray , the 2018 Heisman victor , is choosing the National Football League over a professional baseball career . Football has been my love and passion my entire live.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Maurizio Sarri 'worried and bemused' at Chelsea form
Feb 12, 2019 - 12:44
City's victory moved them back above Liverpool to the summit on goal difference, but they have played a game more. And those were some of the more printable posts.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Offset Announces Solo Album Release Date
Feb 12, 2019 - 12:44
She took the stage on 10 February at the Staples Center with husband Offset , holding his hand. Finishing up with a scream of 'Oh my god!' it's safe to say Cardi's pretty thrilled.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Backed forces begin "final battle" to regain ISIS towns
Feb 11, 2019 - 07:43
A Turkish official said the United States had not signaled to Ankara a date when the USA withdrawal from Syria would be completed. They have urged Western governments to repatriate their nationals, but politicians overseas have been reluctant.