KENYA – Turns out, the mythical African black leopard really does exist.
Biologists shot rare footage of the sleek big cat walking majestically in Kenya — the first time the animal has been photographed in Africa since 1909, says Nick Pilfold, a San Diego Zoo global conservation scientist.
Pilfold said they captured the footage after months of watching and waiting. His team of biologists had placed remote wildlife cameras to track the leopard population near a conservancy in Laikipia County last year when they heard reports of a possible black leopard sighting.
“We intensified our camera placement in the area the reports were being made,” he said Tuesday night. “Within a few months, we were rewarded with multiple observations on our cameras.”
The female leopard’s coat color is pitch black as a result of melanism, a gene mutation that results in an over-production of pigment, Pilfold said. It’s the opposite of albinism — and although the leopard’s coat appears black during the day, its rosette patterns are visible in nighttime infrared imagery. – READ MORE