Wild black panther caught on camera for the first time in 100 years

A rare female black leopard has been captured on camera in central Kenya, the first photographed in the wild for more than 100 years. 

According to National Geographic, biologist Nick Pilfold captured the rarest of big cats in a camera trap set up in Loisaba Conservancy after a tip that a "panther"had been seen several times in that area. 

Pilfold's trap paid off, resulting in a black and white portrait of the big cat slinking through the undergrowth. 

"Almost everyone has a story about seeing one, it's such a mythical thing," Pilfold said. "Even when you talk to the older guys that were guides in Kenya many years ago, back when hunting was legal [in the 50s and 60s], there was a known thing that you didn't hunt black leopards. If you saw them, you didn't take it."

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The cat, a young female, gets her rare colouration from melanism, an excess of colour pigmentation that happens across a number of big cat species, but more commonly in Asian and South American cats. 

A black leopard raised in captivity at the The Rhino and Lion Nature Reserve in Johannesburg.
GETTY IMAGES
A black leopard raised in captivity at the The Rhino and Lion Nature Reserve in Johannesburg.

According to Nat Geo, the last recorded sighting of a wild black panther in Africa was in Ethiopia in 1909.

Pilfold also pointed out the the location of the sighting is near where Marvel comics located its fictional country Wakanda, home of the character Black Panther. "It's a unique coincidence."

 

A black leopard lounging at the The Rhino and Lion Nature Reserve. One has not been seen in the wild for 100 years.
Barcroft
A black leopard lounging at the The Rhino and Lion Nature Reserve. One has not been seen in the wild for 100 years.

 

 

 

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