By Mikey Jones
A rare black panther has emerged to find its prey as it lurks under the African night sky.
Will Burrad-Lucas, 35, from Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, took the phenomenal photos at Laikipia Wilderness Camp, Kenya, last month.
The wildlife photographer took the unusual images using a Camtraptions Camera Trap – a camera which has a motion sensor to detect when animals are there.
The high quality system made it possible to see the majestic black panther, a big cat which is rarely caught on camera, despite it being dark.
Will’s images showcase the black panther’s dazzling yellow eyes as it steps out in the night to hunt for prey.
He said: “I took the photos last month and believe the black panther, in this case a melanistic African leopard, is around two years old.
“Black panthers are iconic creatures and yet very few images of wild black panthers exist.
“This is not just because leopards are extremely secretive and hard to see, but also because only a tiny percentage of leopards are completely black.”
“Since childhood I have been fascinated by stories of black panthers.
“In Africa, black leopards are incredibly rare and until now, the only images of them have been fleeting shots taken from great distance or graining images from low-quality trail cameras.
“As far as I know, this is the first series of high-quality camera trap images of a wild black leopard ever captured in Africa.”
Nicholas Pilfold PhD, a lead researcher for a leopard conservation program in Laikipia County, Keyna, said: “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.
The scientist at San Diego Zoo Global added: “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.”
To read more about Will’s photography, visit: http://blog.burrard-lucas.com/2019/02/black-leopard-in-africa/