San Diego Zoo Global researchers have confirmed the presence of rare black leopards living in Laikipia County, Kenya. Sometimes called black panthers, the melanistic leopards were filmed in Lorok, Laikipia County, Kenya on remote cameras that were set up as part of a large-scale study aimed at understanding the population dynamics of leopards in Mpala and Loisaba Conservancies.
The researchers have confirmed the presence of rare melanistic leopards living in Laikipia, Kenya. Melanism is the result of a gene mutation that makes the coat appear completely black in the daytime.
Nick Pilfold, a San Diego Zoo global scientist, said they captured the footage by sheer luck.
“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.”
African leopards have the largest range of many subspecies but most observations of black leopards have been in southeast Asia. Laikipia is the only known area with black leopards in Africa.
The first time the animal has been photographed in Africa since 1909.