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

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

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

They are believed to be the first images of the animal in more than 100 years.

Pilfold's team of biologists had placed remote wildlife cameras to track the leopard population near a conservancy in the Laikipia County previous year when they heard reports of a possible black leopard sighting.

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

He let the cameras out for several more nights.

Photographer Will Burrard-Lucas told CTVNews.ca over the phone, "it's not an exaggeration to say this was a dream come true ... they're pretty much the number one thing I've wanted to photograph". (Supplied) Black panthers are an umbrella term that refers to any big cat with a black coat.

Burrard-Lucas set up a Camtraptions camera trap, including motion sensors, which was able to photograph the rare beast.

Working in collaboration with biologists from San Diego Zoo in the area, Burrard-Lucas went about installing camera traps in a well-protected area where the black leopard was rumoured to frequent. In Latin America, black panthers are usually jaguars.

The elusive African black leopard is alive and well and living in Kenya - and there are new pictures to prove it. "If you saw them, you didn't take it", Pilford told the magazine. These were later revealed to be that of black leopard. It didn't take long for the cameras to capture footage of the extremely rare melanistic panther.

The cat, a young female, gets her rare colouration from melanism, an excess of colour pigmentation that happens across a number of big cat species, but more commonly in Asian and South American cats.

The mythical creature was captured by British wildlife photographer Will Burrard-Lucas, 35, while it was prowling around the plains of Kenya in the dead of night with a full moon looming above.

This is as a result of melanism, a gene mutation that results in an over-production of pigment, the opposite of albinism.

He explained that according to some comic lore, the fictional country of Wakanda is typically located in East Africa, which is very close to where this real black cat was found. "And any black leopard in Africa and Asia is a type of black panther". In real-life, however the black panther is a real creature who has almost mythic status thanks to having not been seen in nearly 100 years. While common in subspecies native to tropical forests, on the open savannah they are very rare.

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