Black panther: Rare animal caught on camera in Kenya

Black panther: Rare animal caught on camera in Kenya

Black panther: Rare animal caught on camera in Kenya

"We are very excited to hear that these camera traps have captured rare footage of melanistic leopards, otherwise known as black panthers", the conservation group announced.

"As far as I know, these are the first high-quality camera trap photographs of a wild melanistic leopard ever taken in Africa", Burrard-Lucas said.

The extremely rare sighting as well as capturing of a black leopard is believed to be the first of its kind on African soil for the first time in over 100 years.

Contrary to popular belief, black panthers are not a species, the animals commonly referred to by these name are simply melanistic leopards and jaguars that have a mutation responsible for their dark or black coat. The photographer used a Camtraptions camera trap and wireless motion sensors, which were strategically placed in order to capture the historic pics.

You don't need two black leopards to make one, but both parents need to carry the recessive gene for melanism.

"Black panthers are iconic creatures and yet very few images of wild black panthers exist", said Burrard-Lucas in an email to Hyperallergic.


Burrard-Lucas and Pilfold's team were working separately, but they believe they captured images of the same leopard. They were left on 24 hours a day in most places but were only turned on at night in public places, according to the African Journal of Ecology.

"I had high hopes of photographing a leopard, but would it be black?" he wrote.

"Over the days that followed I moved the camera traps around as I gained a deeper understanding of the leopard's movements".

"I don't think it sank in immediately what I'd managed to achieve, it was such an unusual subject". These were placed in areas the black leopard was rumoured to frequent. Before Burrard-Lucas' efforts, researchers with the Institute of Conservation Research at San Diego Zoo Global and Kenya's Loisaba Conservancy published a study on January 29 confirming five sightings of a female black leopardess past year in Laikipia County, Kenya. That's when he made a decision to head to Africa himself, and set up several covert remote cameras by Camtraptions Camera Trap overnight at the Laikipia Wilderness Camp in Kenya, near where the San Diego Zoo researchers had confirmed the evasive predator's existence. They are more often recorded in the forests of Asia, but even there sightings are rare.

Pilford has been delighted at the fact his published research coincides with the recent boom of black panthers in pop culture, which includes Marvel's 2018 film "Black Panther".

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