For the primary time in additional than 100 years, the exceedingly uncommon black leopard has been seen roaming wild in Africa. Rumors had lengthy persevered of black cats in Kenya, however the final photographic proof of their existence on the African continent got here out of Ethiopia in 1909. Lured to Kenya’s Laikipia Wilderness Camp by persistent tales of sightings, researchers from the San Diego Zoo arrange distant video cameras, whereas wildlife photographer Will Burrard-Lucas put in nonetheless photograph cameras, they usually each returned pictures of the elusive cat. They made the images obtainable this week.
The leopards are melanistic, a situation that causes the cat to provide a lot pigment it seems black. They’re most frequently seen in Southeast Asia. The Kenyan sightings have been a jolt of fine fortune for researchers. After listening to that scientists from the San Diego Zoo had recorded video of the cats, Burrard-Lucas headed for Kenya to satisfy a dream to lastly spot considered one of these elusive creatures. Certain sufficient, a juvenile feminine quickly slunk in entrance of one of many cameras, a sighting as uncommon as it’s stunning.
She was touring with an grownup feminine, presumably her mom, although the grownup didn’t have the uncommon coloration.
“We had at all times heard a few black leopard dwelling on this area, however the tales have been absent of high-quality footage that would verify their existence,” mentioned Nicholas Pilford, a scientist at San Diego Zoo World and a member of a leopard conservation program in Laikipia County. “That is what Will’s images and the movies on our distant cameras now show, and are exceptionally uncommon of their element and perception.
“Collectively these are the primary confirmed pictures in almost 100 years of a black leopard in Africa, and this area is the one identified spot in all of Africa to have black leopards.”