Rare Black Leopard Spotted in Laikipia for First time

Black Panther in Lakipia

A black panther has been spotted in Laikipia County in Kenya. A group of researchers at San Diego Zoo Global and Loisaba Conservancy have confirmed the presence of this rare black leopard that has been known to be extinct from the African continent. The pather has been living in the Laikipia County, and this is the first time in 100 years to be spotted by conservationists.

In the Confirmation note of the African Journal of Ecology on January 29, this year, the researchers confirmed the existence of rare black leopards that primarily occur in South East Asia and a few in Africa. The sighting was a first in 100 years, according to researchers.

The researchers captured on camera the rare female black leopard in separate incidences between February and April 2018 in Loisaba Conservancy in Nanyuki.

Led by San Diego Zoo Global biologist Dr Nick Pilfold, the team of researchers deployed a set of camera traps throughout the bushlands of Loisaba Conservancy in early 2018 following unconfirmed reports of the sightings by the villagers.

“Camera recorded a sub-adult female black leopard on February 16, 18, March 11, March 15, and April 2018 at five different camera locations. Four of the five videos were captured at night with infrared illumination allowing for the confirmation of the rosette patterns,” the confirmation note read.

According to the researchers reports on existence of black leopards, are known in Kenya, but neither scientific confirmation nor photographic evidence has supported this before.

“Here, we provide photographic evidence for existence of black leopard in Laikipia County, Kenya. We also compare the habitat of these sightings to the expectations of melanism as an adaptive trait, driven by environment,” the paper reads.

Videos of February 28 and March 11, the researchers recorded, were captured near artificial water resources including one video of drinking suggesting that the points were important during the dry season.

In all of night videos, the black leopard appeared alone. The recordings further shows the black leopard carrying a prey on April 14.

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