A wild melanistic leopard sometimes referred to as “black panther”, has been spotted in Kenya for the first time in 100 years.
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 biggest challenge in this project was knowing where to put my camera traps. 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,” Will says in his blog post.
The young female was spotted moving alongside a larger, normally colored leopard, believed to be her mother.
The opposite of albinism (melanism) is the result of a gene that causes a surplus of pigment in the skin or hair of an animal thus making it appear black.
The latest capture becomes the first scientific documentation of such a creature in Africa in a century.
Nick Pilfold, a Kenyan-based biologist, says it’s curious that the fictional Kingdom of Wakanda, home of the superhero Black Panther, is located in East Africa, fairly close to Kenya.
“It’s a unique coincidence,” says Pilfold.
“The only place where we have black leopards is where this place in the Marvel Universe appears to exist.”
The black leopard, known as a black panther in Africa and Asia, is a secretive and elusive creature.
Most recorded sightings of black leopards or melanistic leopards are from the forests of Asia. But in Africa, where Burrard-Lucas’s quest took him, these black-coated leopards are said to be extremely rare.
And now, Kenya’s own international star Lupita Nyong’o who starred in the acclaimed movie, the Black Panther, Wakanda Forever has marveled at this sight.
— Lupita Nyong'o (@Lupita_Nyongo) February 13, 2019
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