A wild melanistic leopard sometimes referred to as "black panther”, has been caught on camera in Kenya.The super-rare type of leopard was captured in the wilderness of Loisaba Conservancy in Laikipia County by British wildlife photographer Will Burrard-Lucas.
The black leopard that Will photographed is a male and based on its size, thought to be around two years old.
"We had always heard about black leopards living in this region, but the stories were absent of high quality footage that could confirm their existence," said Nicholas Pilfold PhD, lead researcher for a leopard conservation program based in Kenya's Laikipia County.
"Collectively these are the first confirmed images in nearly 100 years of a black leopard in Africa, and this region is the only known spot in all of Africa to have a black leopard." Dr Pilfold and his team say that "confirmed" here means that the image is clear and detailed enough to see the leopard's characteristic pattern.
This is the second black panther to be spotted in Laikipia after a similar discovery was recorded by then Nation photojournalist Phoebe Okall in 2013 at Ol Jogi Conservancy, although Dr Pilfold claims that leopard was not wild and was brought to Kenya from America as a cub. He also notes that it’s curious and a "unique coincidence," that the fictional Kingdom of Wakanda, home of the superhero Black Panther, is located in East Africa, fairly close to Kenya. He adds, "The only place where we have black leopards is where this place in the Marvel Universe appears to exist."
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