This photographer just captured images of rare black leopards in Africa

By Herb Scribner

SALT LAKE CITY — A wildlife photographer captured an image of a black leopard late at night, something that’s fairly uncommon among wildlife enthusiasts.

What happened: Photographer Will Burrard-Lucas released extremely rare images that he captured in Africa of the black leopard, known as a black panther in Africa and Asia, walking around at night.

  • Burrard-Lucas said in his release that he was always interested in black panthers. He spent his life chasing them down to capture some photos.
  • It wasn’t until he visited the Laikipia Wilderness Camp in Kenya that he finally had an opportunity to take photos of the panther. He took several photos at night with the hope of capturing photos of a leopard.

  • He said he left his cameras outside for several nights. He checked them and saw multiple photos of hyenas, but not a leopard.
  • “I had a quick look at the last trap, not expecting to find much,” he said. “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.”

Read more: Scroll through the famous photos on Burrard-Lucas’ website.

Why it matters: Scientists say that finding black leopards in this region is a rarity.

  • “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,” said Nicholas Pilfold, scientist at San Diego Zoo Global and lead researcher for a leopard conservation program in Laikipia County, according to USA Today. “This is what Will’s photos and the videos on our remote cameras now prove, and are exceptionally rare in their detail and insight.
  • “Collectively these are the first confirmed images in nearly 100 years of black leopard in Africa, and this region is the only known spot in all of Africa to have black leopard.”