Black African Leopard Captured For The First Time in a 100 Years is Going Viral For the Right Reason

By THP Team


For a photographer, capturing every frame with perfection is a job but to capture something that brings light to the world is only once in a lifetime opportunity. Will Burrard-Lucas has recently captured something so powerful that the world is going crazy for his photographs.

Since 1909, no one has been able to photograph a black panther in Africa only until a few days back when Burrard-Lucas did it. THE HISTORY PICTURES takes you through his journey on his ‘Quest to photograph the most elusive cat in Africa!’

On 11 February 2019, he was the luckiest to have been able to capture a series of high-quality photographs of a  melanistic leopard (commonly known as black leopard) on his camera. The photographs were captured in Laikipia, Kenya.

Will is a full-time wildlife photographer and was highly fascinated by every story of a black panther. He says.”For me, no animal is shrouded in more mystery, no animal more elusive, and no animal more beautiful. For many years they remained the stuff of dreams and of farfetched stories told around the campfire at night.”

He placed his camera at several places in different angles but he wasn’t sure at first that if he would be able to capture any photo of a leopard.

The next day when he checked his camera, he couldn’t hold himself on what he found. He realized that his camera has captured incredible photos of a female black leopard.

Nick Pilfold, a global conservation scientist at the San Diego Zoo said, “The female leopard’s coat is pitch black due to melanism, a gene mutation that results in an over-production of pigment. It’s the opposite of albinism. And although the leopard’s rocking a black coat during the day, its rosette patterns are visible in nighttime infrared imagery.”

The female leopard looks stunning in these photos captured at night and especially her eyes are so sterling!

Will further added, “I left the cameras for several more nights. On returning, I checked them and by the time I got to the last camera, all I had seen were pictures of hyenas but no leopards. 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.”

“The images were captured at Laikipia Wilderness Camp in Kenya, using [self-made] Camtraptions camera traps. Each trap is made up of a Camtraptions motion sensor, which wirelessly triggers a high-quality DSLR or mirrorless camera and two or three flashes. I leave these cameras on game paths for days or even weeks at a time in order to photograph elusive animals. The technique also allows me to set up studio-like lighting in order to capture striking images of animals at night.” Said Will Burrard-Lucas


Image Credits: BLphotography

Below is a video that shows behind the scenes of the footage captured above.


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