Black Panther spotted in Kenya for the first time in 100 years

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Nicholas Pilfold, from the institute for conservation research at the San Diego Zoo, is the author of an article in the African Journal of Ecology about the new photographic evidence captured by Burrard-Lucas.

It took about four days before he finally got his big break and captured a wild black leopard, an accomplishment that hasn't been equalled in possibly a century.

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

"As far as I know, this is the first series of high-quality camera trap images of a wild black leopard ever captured in Africa".

Most recorded sightings of black leopards have therefore been in the forests of Asia.

"Since childhood I have been fascinated by stories of black leopards".

Photographer Will Burrard-Lucas couldn't have been luckier when a big black cat crossed his path while snapping wildlife in Kenya last month. All I can see is eyes but this is a black leopard emerging from the darkness.

After deploying camera traps, which take photos when they detect motion in front of them, in the Loisaba Conservancy in central Kenya in early 2018, Pilfold soon had his proof: a juvenile female leopard, with black skin and black spots, wandering through the brush.

Burrard-Lucas told MailOnline Travel that it had been his dream to photograph the black leopard since childhood.

A black leopard lounging at the The Rhino and Lion Nature Reserve.

The creature - of nearly mythical status - was captured on film by Kenya-based biologist Nick Pilfold using specialist equipment including wireless motion sensors and high-quality DSLR cameras.

He said he left his cameras outside for several nights.

"Usually on these camera trap photos with the flash you see the animal very clearly". 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.

That just makes the fact that Kenya, which seems to be the only place black panthers are found in Africa, is also near the location of the fictional country of Wakanda, home of the Marvel universe's Black Panther superhero, all the more striking. "Melanistic leopards have been reported in and around Kenya for decades, but scientific confirmation of their existence remains quite rare", states National Geographic on their website.

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.

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