Black leopards are mysterious animals that live deep in the forests, away from prying eyes. However, British photographer Will Burrard-Lucas managed to photograph a black leopard in the wild – for the first time in more than 100 years.
The wildlife photographer had previously heard that the animal was sighted near Laikipia Wilderness Camp in Kenya, so he decided to try his luck. He set up camera traps, but for several nights captured nothing but hyenas. One night, however, he was going through the images when he noticed “a pair of eyes surrounded by inky darkness”.
“No animal is more elusive,” wrote the photographer on his blog when he released the photos. “Nobody I knew had ever seen one in the wild and I never thought that I would either.”
The last time this black wildcat was photographed was in 1909. Nick Pilford, the lead researcher of a leopard conservation program in Laikipia County, confirmed that these were, in fact, the first images of a wild panther in Africa in nearly 100 years.
“We had always heard about black leopard living in this region, but the stories were absent of high-quality footage that could confirm their existence”, Pilford said for *USA Today*.
Take a look at the magnificent shots of this rare animal.