Rare African Black Leopard Captured In Image For First Time In A Century

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It’s a scientific accomplishment  to warm the heart of any superhero fan: the first documented sightings of a black panther in Africa in about 100 years, not far from where Marvel places the fictional locale of its Oscar-nominated “Black Panther.”

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A team from the Institute for Conservation Research of the San Diego Zoo Global and the Loisaba Conservancy in Kenya confirmed the existence of black leopards — as the animals are also known — in Laikipia County, an area north of Nairobi, Kenya’s capital.

“It is certain black panthers have been there all along, but good footage that could confirm it has always been absent until now,” Nicholas Pilfold, a biologist at the San Diego institute, said in an Instagram post on Tuesday.

“Black panthers are uncommon, only about 11 percent of leopards globally are black,” he added. “But black panthers in Africa are extremely rare.”

From February to April 2018, five of the cameras recorded footage of a young female black leopard. She appeared alone in four nighttime videos — drinking water from artificial water sources or carrying remains of her prey — but in the only daytime video, she was following an adult female leopard with normal markings.

“Unconfirmed observations from September 2017 from the two leopards together suggest that this nonmelanistic female might be the mother of the black leopard,” according to the paper, which added that in previous sightings, the black leopard was “smaller in size, and in closer proximity to her mother.”

Written By: Tommy Lightfoot Garrett
Photographs are Courtesy:   Will Burrard-Lucas/Camtraptions
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