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Extremely Rare Wild Black Leopard Spotted In Africa

by : Emily Brown on : 02 Mar 2021 13:36
Extremely Rare Wild Black Leopard Spotted In AfricaBurrard-Lucas Photography

A British wildlife photographer has shared new photos of an incredibly rare black leopard, spotted as he spent a year tracking the animal in Laikipia, Kenya. 

Will Burrard-Lucas first shared images of the black leopard in 2019, marking the first time in 100 years the evasive creature was scientifically recorded in Africa.

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The newly released photo series, featured in Burrard-Lucas’s new book, The Black Leopard: My Quest to Photograph One of Africa’s Most Elusive Big Cats, shows the stunning animal outlined by a dark sky.

Rare black leopardBurrard-Lucas Photography

The leopard’s bright eyes stand out against its black fur, which is the result of melanism, the opposite of albinism.

The photographer told MailOnline he spotted two black leopards during his time spent in the field; a smaller black leopard he named ‘Blacky’ and a larger male he referred to as ‘Big Spotty’.

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Rare black leopardBurrard-Lucas Photography

Having obtained the images with the help of people from the local community, Burrard-Lucas noted that the black leopards appear to be ‘more nocturnal – probably because they have more success hunting at night’.

In his blog, Burrard-Lucas explained that capturing a photo of a black leopard under the stars would be ‘both the rarest and most difficult wildlife photo [he] had attempted to date’, and his mission was made more difficult by the fact that the leopard he hoped to photograph started roaming further afield to avoid the bigger male.

Black Leopard bookBurrard-Lucas Photography
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Still, the photographer prevailed and in a couple of weeks he managed to capture the photo of his dreams, albeit with the wrong leopard.

He explained:

At any one time, I now had between five and seven camera traps deployed, and most of them were set up to capture the star shot…

It only took a couple of weeks before I had captured the photo I had envisaged – except it featured the wrong leopard! Nevertheless, it is possibly my favourite photo of a spotty leopard to date and so I wasn’t too disappointed.

The Black Leopard: My Quest to Photograph One of Africa’s Most Elusive Big Cats, is available to purchase now.

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Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.

Topics: Animals, Kenya, Now, Photography, wildlife

Credits

Will Burrard-Lucas and 1 other
  1. Will Burrard-Lucas

    Starlit Black Leopard: Capturing my dream photograph

  2. Mail Online

    Never-before-seen images show ultra-rare black leopard on the prowl after a photographer spent a year tracking Africa's most elusive big cat in Kenya