Africa’s Most Rare Black Leopard Caught On Camera

An ultra-rare black leopard was photographed by British photographer Will Burrard-Lucas in Kenya.

Lucas began experimenting with camera ᴛʀᴀᴘs to capture rare species like the black leopard. It took him more than six months to get his dream photograph.

Lucas’s shots show the leopard from a variety of angles. The most popular shot of the black leopard shows it in the foreground with the starry sky overlooking the big cat.

The leopard’s unique black fur is the result of melanism which creates a variation in the color of these animals. The ɢᴇɴᴇᴛɪᴄ variation causes an excess of dark ᴘɪɢᴍᴇɴᴛation. It’s extremely rare to capture a black leopard on camera. Black leopards mostly reside in dense forests. So these black leopards have different behaviors than regular leopards. Their dark skin also helps them hide and ʜᴜɴᴛ better during the night.

People are amazed at the photographs. One person commented, “Absolutely brilliant.” While another wrote, “Mesmerising gaze.”

He worked with the local community and also biologists from San Dɪᴇgo Zoo to set up an expedition.

Furthermore, the photographer mentioned his experiences in a blog post. He wrote, “I stopped and ᴘᴇᴇred at the back of the camera in disbelief. The realization of what I was looking at hit me like a lightning bolt.”

He continued further, “‘In the darkness of my tent, on the bright laptop screen, I could now see the animal properly. It was so beautiful it almost took my breath away. I zoomed in and the image was sharp.”

Unfortunately, the leopard population in Africa has been in decline. Loss of haʙɪᴛat, competition for ᴘʀᴇʏ, and also ʜᴜɴᴛing are some of the main reasons for the decline.

Addressing the issue, Will writes, “People have raised the valid concern that the leopard may now be a target for trophy ʜᴜɴᴛers. Fortunately, trophy ʜᴜɴᴛing is ɪʟʟᴇɢᴀʟ in Kenya.”

Will’s new book ‘The Black Leopard’ has been released. Talking about his new book, he told The Koala, “The Black leopard is so beautiful and rare that I always intended to publish the photographs in a book. But a book focusing solely on the leopards of Laikipia. However, as the project progressed, it became clear that there was so much more to the story.”

Further adding, “I am also pleased that through this book I have been able to tell the full story behind how I came to photograph the black leopard, and acknowledge the roles that so many people played in helping me achieve my dream.”

Will believes his work will bring critical tourism revenue. It is often the only source of funding for conversation efforts.

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