The rare African black leopard. Photo: Will Burrard-Lucas@Instagram

An extremely rare black leopard was captured on camera by a persistent photographer in Kenya recently. Will Burrard-Lucas, a wildlife photographer based in the UK, first captured the mysterious animal in India in 2018, Daily Hive reported. The photographer, who had long been fascinated by the animal, captured the animal again at a park in Kenya.

Burrard-Lucas says the animal – which falls under the umbrella term of black panthers – is shrouded in mystery and very elusive. He added that he never thought he would ever spot one in the wild.

The photographer followed rumors that the animal had been seen at the Laikipia Wilderness Camp in Kenya. A combination of wireless motion sensors and a high-quality DSLR camera were put in place to catch the big cat in action.

Photo: Will Burrard-Lucas@Instagram

He achieved his goal, as the big cat was captured in arguably the first high-resolution image of a wild black leopard in years.

The photos captured by Burrard-Lucas are expected to draw tourism revenue from wildlife enthusiasts, a key source of funding for conservation in African countries such as Kenya.

The dark color of the black leopard is the result of a condition called melanism, which causes an excessive amount of color pigment being produced by the body. The condition causes the animal to appear pitch black to the naked eye during the day. However, infrared imagery is able to show the leopard’s rosette patterns at night.

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