Stunning images capture rare black leopard in Africa

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British wildlife photographer Will Burrard-Lucas, captured the images in the Laikipia Wilderness Camp in Kenya after hearing that there were sightings in surrounding areas, according to The Guardian.

This wild black leopard was photographed with a Camtraptions camera trap in Laikipia Wilderness Camp, Kenya.

'Collectively these are the first confirmed images in almost 100 years of black leopard in Africa, and this region is the only known spot in all of Africa to have black leopard'.

"Black panther" is the popular name for any big cat with melanism, the recessive genetic condition that causes a black coat. With help from a local tour guide and other leopard researchers in Laikipia County, who followed tracks believed to belong to the leopard, Burrard-Lucas eventually settled on what he considered the flawless spot to set up Camtraptions Camera Traps. It didn't take long for the cameras to capture footage of the extremely rare melanistic panther. The cameras were placed near animal trails, and water sources such as pools and natural springs.

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A black leopard lounging at the The Rhino and Lion Nature Reserve. Reports of black leopards across Africa are strikingly uncommon.

National Geographic adds that there are nine leopard subspecies ranging from Africa all the way to eastern Russian Federation.

The difference, Burrard-Lucas noted, was the evidence needed to make a scientific judgment call.

After several days without success Burrard-Lucas returned to his cameras to find a striking image.

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The sightings in arid Laikipia County are particularly significant as black panthers have previously been spotted more commonly in dense forest, where the darker leopards' camouflage would appear to be most effective. I think when I started this project I didn't actually think I was going to be able to achieve a shot of a black leopard in Africa but that it is exactly what is here on the back of my camera.

"Black panther is a looser term".

Pilford first encountered a back leopard after spending three days searching the Kabini Forest in India.

It is the first time a sighting of the stunning creature has been confirmed since 1909.

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"It is certain black panthers have been there all along, but good footage that could confirm it has always been absent until now", San Diego institute scientist Nicholas Pilfold wrote on an Instagram post. While common in subspecies native to tropical forests, on the open savannah they are very rare.