Extremely Rare Black Leopard Immortalized in Stunning Photos

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The researchers captured on camera the rare female black leopard in separate incidences between February and April 2018 in Loisaba Conservancy in Nanyuki, pictures that have since gone viral, also with the Kenya Wildlife service confirming them.

Burrard-Lucas said he shot the images at Laikipia Wilderness Camp using a Camtraptions Camera, which focuses on wildlife photography and footage.

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 creature - of nearly mythical status - was captured on film by Kenya-based biologist Nick Pilfold using specialist equipment including wireless motion sensors and high-quality DSLR cameras.

The cats have the same distinctive spots - or rosettes - as regular golden leopards, but are much darker in colour. "I set up my camera traps up on this trail and it was there that I captured my first image of the black leopard".

There is a mild controversy as to whether it's the first time the cat is being seen since a 1909 photograph taken in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

"Thereafter the black leopard disappeared and I started capturing images of a big spotty male instead - apparently he had chased away the younger black leopard".

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He marveled at the coincidence of the location of an animal that's also called the black panther, the title of one of last year's biggest movies. "It took a few days before it sank in that I had achieved my dream". Steve confirmed that it was true and he had seen several black leopards over the years.

It took about four days before he finally got his big break and captured a wild black leopard, an accomplishment that hasn't been equalled in possibly a century.

Nicholas Pilfold, a scientist working on the San Diego Zoo Global's leopard conservation program in the area, says that getting any leopard on camera is a challenge.

"It's really neat. The black panthers we have are very close to the fictional ones of Wakanda", he said.

Burrard-Lucas told the news organization the black leopard could easily go undetected, as it blended into the darkness.

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

For those who have watched the famous Black Panther movie, it is easy to think that just seeing the photo of such a handsome creature gives all manner of wakanda vibes.