A Black Leopard, so rare, that it almost had a mythical status has been photographed for the first time in nearly a century.
The creature, which had not been seen anywhere in one hundred years was photographed by British wildlife photographer Will Burrard-Lucas.
The ultra-rare Leopard was spotted by the British photographer as it was prowling around Laikipia Wilderness Camp in Kenya, during a full moon looming above.
The Leopard which has a condition known as melanism is seen in the photographs hunting for prey. Its eyes irradiate a magical color, while leopard-like spots are barely seen on its dark coat due to the condition.
As Mr. Burrard-Lucas explains on his blog, to snap images of the rare animal, he used a plethora of camera traps each consisting of a Camtraptions wireless motion sensor, a high-quality DSLR camera, and two or three flashes.
He left the cameras snapping images for 24 hours.
As he checked his strategically placed cameras, he saw he had not photographed the leopard.
Disheartened, he was losing hope of ever capturing the rare animal on camera.
However, he decided to leave the cameras on the field a few more nights.
Eventually, he returned to see what the cameras had captured.
“I checked them and by the time I got to the last camera, all I had seen were pictures of hyenas but no leopards,” Mr. Burrard-Lucas recounts.
” I had a quick look at the last trap, not expecting to find much. As I scrolled through the images on the back of the camera, I paused and peered at the photograph below in incomprehension… a pair of eyes surrounded by inky darkness… a black leopard! I couldn’t believe it and it took a few days before it sank in that I had achieved my dream,” he wrote on his blog post.
Nicholas Pilfold, a biologist who joined Mr. Burrard-Lucas on his journey confirmed the extremely rare nature of the photographs.
Image Credit: Will Burrard-Lucas