Friday, 26 April, 2019

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

By Eddy Mwanza on 12 February 2019- 5:04 pm                              
  incredible
Laikipia Wilderness Camp Laikipia- Kenya Twitter By Eddy Mwanza on 12 February 2019- 5:04 pm incredible Laikipia Wilderness Camp Laikipia- Kenya Twitter
Jeannette Daniel | 13 February, 2019, 16:12

A black leopard has been spotted in Africa for first time in 100 years.

The high-quality system made it possible to see the majestic black leopard, a rarely photographed big cat, despite it being dark.

"I never get my hopes up, and after the first couple of nights I hadn't got this leopard and I was beginning to think I'd be lucky if I get a photo of a spotty leopard, let alone this black one".

"Black leopards are iconic creatures and yet very few images of wild black leopards exist", he said.

"In Africa, black leopards are incredibly rare and until now, the only images of them have been fleeting shots taken from great distance or graining images from low-quality trail cameras".

Nick Pilfold, a San Diego Zoo global scientist, said they captured the footage after months of watching and waiting.

The big cat was traveling with a much larger, more typically-colored yellow and black leopard, judged to be the juvenile's mother, Pilfold told National Geographic.

The pictures are the first of a black leopard in Africa in nearly 100 years.

Will Burrard-Lucas captured the images, which were released to the public on Monday, at the Laikipia Wilderness Camp in Kenya after hearing reports of sightings in the area.

More news: How to watch Monday coverage of AT&T Pebble Beach Pro

Black Panther has been everywhere in recent years - but spotting one of the animals the famous superhero is named after in the African wilderness is a little more rare.

The opposite of albinism, this rare genetic variation causes a surplus of pigment in an animal's skin or hair.

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.

"This is not just because leopards are extremely secretive and hard to see, but also because only a tiny percentage of leopards are completely black".

The photographer used a Camtraptions camera trap and wireless motion sensors, which were strategically placed in order to capture the historic pics.

While there have been reports of sightings of black leopards - also known as black panthers - the last confirmed observation was in Ethiopia more than a century ago, he said.

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 wild African black leopard has been the stuff of legend and campfire story for decades.

There are nine leopard subspecies located from Africa all the way to eastern Russian Federation.

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