An extremely rare black leopard, also known as the black panther, has been recently spotted in Kenya, which marks the first recorded sighting of the elusive animal in over a 100 years on the African soil.
A wildlife photographer captured an image of a black leopard late at night, something that's fairly uncommon among wildlife enthusiasts.
The big cat that he captured was confirmed as a juvenile female, travelling with a larger normally coloured leopard, thought to be its parent.
He added: "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".
"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".
"This is what Will's photos and the videos on our remote cameras now prove, and are exceptionally rare in their detail and insight", Nicholas Pilford, scientist at San Diego Zoo Global and lead researcher for a leopard conservation program in Laikipia County, tells USA Today. "Even when you talk to the older guys that were guides in Kenya many years ago, back when hunting was legal [in the 50s and 60s], there was a known thing that you didn't hunt black leopards".
According to National Geographic, the extremely rare animal has melanism, where the body produces too much pigment.
This genetic variation, the opposite of albinism, results in an excess of dark pigmentation.
Pilfold is part of a team from the San Diego Zoo working with local partners, including the Kenya Wildlife Service, to monitor leopard populations in the area to help preserve the species.
He used specialist equipment including wireless motion sensors, high-quality DSLR cameras and two to three flashes. On returning, I checked them and by the time I got to the last camera, all I had seen were pictures of hyenas but no leopards.
It's easy to think of black panthers as animals in their own right, but Will says that's not the case.
The Brit said he couldn't believe it when he returned to one of the traps one day and saw a black leopard staring back at the camera lens.
When Pilford published his proof in the African Journal of Ecology in late January 2019, he believed it was the first such confirmed sighting in Africa since 1909, when a photograph was taken of a black cat in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
There are nine leopard subspecies located from Africa all the way to eastern Russian Federation.