An animal photographer captured beautiful images of a rare African black leopard, which would be among the first high quality photos of such a creature on the continent. Will Burrard-Lucas took pictures of the black leopard in the wild during a safari in Kenya, he wrote in a blog article published Wednesday.

When Burrard-Lucas heard of possible sightings of a black leopard, also known as a black panther or jaguar, at Laikipia Wilderness camp, he went there to see it with his own eyes. The animals are known to be extremely secretive and difficult to spot. Only a small percentage of all leopards are black.

"I had high hopes of photographing a leopard, but would it be black?" he wrote.


This wild black leopard was photographed with a Camtraptions photo trap at Laikipia Wilderness Camp, Kenya.

Burrard-Lucas Photography

With the help of a guide, he set up Photographic traps Camtraptions along a trail where they found new footprints – although it is not clear if the tracks belonged to a black leopard or another spotted. And the fourth night, he managed to take high quality photos of a black leopard – a show that he could not believe that he had captured with his cameras.

"As I scanned the images on the back of the camera, I stopped and looked at the picture below with incomprehension … a pair of eyes surrounded by black ink … a black leopard! I could not believe it and it took a few days before sinking into the realization of my dream, "he writes.

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Wildlife photographer Will Burrard-Lucas was able to spot a wild black leopard using Camtraptions camera traps.

Will Burrard-Lucas Photography


<p>Most of the recorded black leopard sightings occurred in Asian forests. Before <a target=Burrard-Lucas"Efforts, Researchers from the Institute of Conservation Research at San Diego Zoo Global and Loisaba Conservancy in Kenya published a study On January 29, confirming five observations of a female black leopard last year in Laikipia County, Kenya. With their cameras, they caught the first photographic evidence of a black leopard in Africa since 1909.

One of the study's lead researchers, Nicholas Pilfold, PhD, told CBS News that the creatures' sighting was "a common knowledge locally", but lacked visual evidence. He complimented Burrard-Lucas"pictures because" having pictures of this quality really hits home. "He thinks that the more images of this type available, the more people will be inclined to help the species and its habitat.

"Rare and unique observations like this inspire people to protect," Pilford told CBS News, adding that this kind of attention would benefit conservation in Kenya.