Black panther: Rare animal caught on camera in Kenya

Cheryl Sanders
February 13, 2019

The creature - which nearly has a mythical status - was captured by British wildlife photographer Will Burrard-Lucas, 35, while it was prowling around the plains of Kenya in the dead of night with a full moon looming above.

Burrard-Lucas said it had been his dream to photograph the black leopard since childhood. He took several photos at night with the hope of capturing photos of a leopard. "Black leopards in Africa are extremely rare, and prior to the observations in our published paper, the last confirmed observation was 1909 in Ethiopia".

These remarkable images, said to be the first clear ones in 100 years of the creature, show the leopard out hunting for prey.

It was Steve who tipped off Will on the whereabouts of the elusive melanistic leopard, after picking up on fresh tracks allegedly belonging to the black panther, that had been spotted close to the wilderness camp.

Photographer Will Burrard-Lucas couldn't have been luckier when a big black cat crossed his path while snapping wildlife in Kenya last month.


Black Panther has been everywhere in recent years - but spotting one of the animals the famous superhero is named after in the African wilderness is a little more rare.

Also known as a "melanistic" leopards, these sleek felines have a mutation marked by a prevalence of dark pigment over light.

"This is not just because leopards are extremely secretive and hard to see, but also because only a tiny percentage of leopards are completely black". "The only place where we have black leopards is where this place in the Marvel Universe appears to exist".

He used specialist equipment including wireless motion sensors, high-quality DSLR cameras and two to three flashes.

In a video documenting his photography expedition, Burrard-Lucas filmed himself going to check the camera.


Nicholas Pilfold PhD, a lead researcher for a leopard conservation program in Laikipia County, Keyna, said: "We had always heard about black leopard living in this region, but the stories were absent of high quality footage that could confirm their existence".

Will has left his cameras at the park in Kenya and is flying back in a few weeks to see what else they've picked up - but time to get more pictures is running out.

The Brit said he couldn't believe it when he returned to one of the traps one day and saw a black leopard staring back at the camera lens.

It's easy to think of black panthers as animals in their own right, but Will says that's not the case.


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