JOIN
OUR EMAIL LIST!
Black Leopard Stock Photo (Getty Images), @DenicefromPA/Twitter

Wakanda forever!


That's what's going through our heads upon learning that earlier this week British wildlife photographer Will Burrard-Lucas took several high quality images of a wild melanistic leopard, also known as a black panther, while on a trip near Kenya's Laikipia Wilderness Camp, a local wildlife haven.

The black leopard is considered ultra-rare, and this one is believed to be the first of its kind on African soil in nearly 100 years.

"The biggest challenge in this project was knowing where to put my camera traps. When I heard that a black leopard had been seen up at Laikipia Wilderness Camp in Kenya my ears pricked up and I contacted the owners Steve and Annabelle Carey to find out more," Burrard-Lucas revealed in a blog post.

(In a separate interview with The Daily Mail, he revealed that photographing the elusive creature had been his dream since childhood.)

Burrard-Lucas noted that he, in collaboration with biologists from the San Diego Zoo who were working in the area, set up camera traps in an area the leopard was said to frequent.

In a video documenting his photography expedition, he recalls how he felt once he'd reviewed the images and realized he'd finally achieved his childhood dream of photographing the creature:

As far as I know none of these leopards has never been photographed properly in Africa before... So I've left the cameras for a few days and now I'm heading back to see if I've got anything...

'Scrub hare, mongoose… we have something. All I can see is eyes but this is a black leopard emerging from the darkness. Look at this!

'I can't believe it really. I think when I started this project I didn't actually think I was going to be able to achieve a shot of a black leopard in Africa but that it is exactly what is here on the back of my camera. Just the most stunning, spectacular creature I think I've ever photographed!'

According to Dr. Nicholas Pilfold, a biologist with San Diego Zoo Global who worked with Burrard-Lucas in the field, the recent on-camera sightings are incredibly rare:

"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. 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."

Dr. Pilford also explained that most recorded sightings of black leopards had been limited to the forests of Asia and elaborated on just how rare this sighting really is:

Melanism occurs in about 11 per cent of leopards globally. However, despite African leopards having the largest remaining range out of any of the subspecies, there has only been one confirmed case of melanism prior to these images.

In addition to confirming black panthers in Africa, our observations are unique because Laikipia is a semi-arid shrubland, and previous melanistic observations come from more shaded habitats in tropical forests, which is in keeping with the understanding that melanism is an adaptation to camouflage against dark backgrounds.

We hope our future research will cast a light on why these black panthers occur here, just how many there are and how being melanistic in an unshaded environment affects their hunting strategies.

Melanism is a recessive trait in leopards, so both parents have to be carrying the gene in order for it to be expressed. Genetic research indicates melanism comes from a mutation in a gene that causes a loss of the normal function and colouration. However, although they appear solid black during the day, black panthers still have the iconic leopard rosette patterns in their coats.

The images quickly took social media by storm...



...and many wildlife enthusiasts lined up to congratulate the beaming photographer, too.




What a stunning creature!

Manipulation is designed to be stealthy. We hardly recognize it when it's happening to us because our abuser has forced it to appear under wraps.

But when we recognize it for what it really is, we really feel like we've been smacked across the face. There is no other descriptor for it. Usually we've trusted and loved those that manipulated us.

Keep reading... Show less
Image by Anita S. from Pixabay

Just as new mothers encounter the sudden, influential developments of powerful hormone changes, protective instincts, and milk production, so new fathers undergo some key changes of their own.

Their socks become exclusively white, climbing higher up the calf than ever before. All their shorts sprout cargo pockets and clunky belt loop cell phone holders. They start to really lean in to their old records.

Keep reading... Show less
Image by Patricia Srigley from Pixabay

Cleaning up is hard enough when it's just clearing a month of dust bunnies. Can you imagine cleaning the debris left by murder, suicide and violence? I have a really great friend who used to do crime scene clean-up for a living. The pay is incredible; it starts at $55 an hour. But there is a much higher cost in mental well being. Death affects you in ways you don't always feel immediately. My friend has stories of nightmares, depression and pain after leaving scenes of horror. Why make all that money just to spend it on therapy? It takes a certain type of person.

***TRIGGER WARNING. CONTENTS ARE SENSITIVE ***

Redditor u/MemegodDave wanted to hear from the people who have the stomach to come in after crime and tragedy

to try to bring back some form of normalcy to the location by asking... People who make their living out of cleaning murder scenes, accidents and the like, what is the worst thing you have experienced in your career?

Keep reading... Show less

We all know the telltale signs that something is making us uncomfortable. Suddenly, we begin shaking, either in our hands or knees or toes. Then, usually, sweat starts pouring out of every part of our body, making it look like we just ran through a rainstorm underneath a waterfall. Finally, we lose our regular speech functions. Everything goes out of sync and our words don't match up to what's in our minds.

What's interesting is that what usually brings about these fits of uncomfortableness differs from person to person, as evidenced by the stories below.

Keep reading... Show less