Stunning images capture rare black leopard in Africa

A British wildlife photographer managed to capture the first pictures of a rare African black leopard for the first time in more than 100 years. British photographer Will Burrard-Lucas managed to get once-in-a-lifetime images of the elusive animal, the first time anybody has secured a photo of one in almost 100 years.

This genetic variation, the opposite of albinism, results in an excess of dark pigmentation.

But when he heard about one being eyed in central Kenya, he took his photography team and their equipment and flew to the East African country to try and capture photographic evidence of it.

After learning that several had been spotted in the Laikipia area of Kenya, he made a decision to investigate further and set up an expedition this January.

Well, imagine that feeling times a bajillion, and you might have a sense of how Will Burrard-Lucas must be feeling.

Black leopards are usually associated with dense forests, where their coats make them hard to spot.

Wildlife photographer Will Burrard-Lucas was able to catch a rare glimpse of a wild black leopard using Camtraptions camera traps.

"I had a quick look at the last trap, not expecting to find much", Burrard-Lucas wrote on his blog. "So I've left the cameras for a few days and now I'm heading back to see if I've got anything". "For many years they remained the stuff of dreams and of farfetched stories told around the campfire at night".

'This is what Will's photos and the videos on our remote cameras now prove, and are exceptionally rare in their detail and insight.

Reports reaching reveal that a black panther has been spotted in Kenya, making it the first of its kind in a century. In Latin America, black panthers are usually jaguars.

Early previous year, Pilfold and his team placed remote cameras near the conservancy after they heard reports of a possible black leopard, also called a black panther. He checked them and saw multiple photos of hyenas, but not a leopard.

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.

"The term that makes them black is called melanism and it's the same thing that makes a house cat black, or any other cat species".

Pilfold's trap paid off, resulting in a black and white portrait of the big cat slinking through the undergrowth.

Vanessa Coleman