Published: Wed, February 13, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Rare Animal Sighted in Kenya for the First Time in 100 Years

Rare Animal Sighted in Kenya for the First Time in 100 Years

While albinism causes whiteness due to a lack of pigmentation, the genetic variation melanism results in an excess of dark pigmentation.

A wildlife photographer from the United Kingdom has captured images of a black leopard in Kenya.

According to Nat Geo, the last recorded sighting of a wild black panther in Africa was in Ethiopia in 1909. 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. The team of biologists had placed remote wildlife cameras to track the leopard population in Laikipia County past year when they heard unconfirmed reports of a possible black leopard sighting.

"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". These were placed in areas the black leopard was rumoured to frequent.

After meeting with locals who had seen the animals, and following leopard tracks, Burrard-Lucas set up a Camtraptions camera trap that included wireless motion sensors, in the hope of photographing the animals at night.

Working in collaboration with biologists in the area, Burrard-Lucas went about installing camera traps.

Will captured a spotted leopard on one of the camera traps, which could be the black leopard's dad.

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"I left the cameras for several more nights".

It's easy to think of black panthers as animals in their own right, but Will says that's not the case.

Nicholas Pilfold PhD, a lead researcher for a leopard conservation program in Laikipia County, Keyna, said: "We had always heard about black leopard living in this region, but the stories were absent of high quality footage that could confirm their existence".

"This is what Will's photos and the videos on our remote cameras now prove, and are exceptionally rare in their detail and insight". On returning, I checked them and by the time I got to the last camera, all I had seen were pictures of hyenas but no leopards.

Pilfold also pointed out the the location of the sighting is near where Marvel comics located its fictional country Wakanda, home of the character Black Panther.

The black leopard could also be referred to as a black panther, as this is an umbrella term that simply refers to any big cat that has a black coat.

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

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