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A rare black African leopard

14 February 2019
A rare black African leopard

Meanwhile, the area where the animal was captured "is the only known spot in all of Africa to have black leopard", Pilford said, USA Today reported.

"Collectively these are the first confirmed images in almost 100 years of black leopard in Africa, and this region is the only known spot in all of Africa to have black leopard".

Kenya's Daily Nation newspaper said a similar photograph was taken in 2013 by Phoebe Okall, but Pilfold and his team say otherwise. "And any black leopard in Africa and Asia is a type of black panther".

The sightings in arid Laikipia County are particularly significant as black panthers have previously been spotted more commonly in dense forest, where the darker leopards' camouflage would appear to be most effective. With their cameras, they caught first photographic evidence of a black leopard in Africa since 1909.

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

Pilfold said his team of biologists had placed remote cameras to track the leopard population near a conservancy area in Laikipia County a year ago when they heard reports of a possible black leopard sighting.

"When I heard that a black leopard had been seen up at Laikipia Wilderness Camp in Kenya my ears pricked up and I contacted the owners Steve and Annabelle Carey to find out more", he said.

While he was capturing stills, researchers from San Diego Zoo Global studying leopards in the area set up remote video cameras nearby, publishing their findings in the African Journal of Ecology.

According to reports by CNN, Pilfold and his team set their cameras in Laikipia after getting reports of the existence of the cat in Kenya. "As I scrolled through the images on the back of the camera, I paused and peered at the photograph below in incomprehension ... a pair of eyes surrounded by inky darkness ... a black leopard!" "So black jaguars in South America, for example, are a type of black panther".

Wildlife photographer Will Burrard-Lucas captured photos of the animal and posted them on his website.

Pilford said he's "aware of a few different photos taken over the years, but a lot of them are taken from a distance and could not be used as confirmatory evidence".

"It's really neat. The black panthers we have are very close to the fictional ones of Wakanda", he said. "Within a few months, we were rewarded with multiple observations on our cameras".