Leopards are elusive predators that roam the savannahs and mountains of Africa. These rosseted cats are sought after by many wildlife lovers, photographers, and enthusiasts. Is there an animal that is more sought after when going on safari?
What is better than a leopard, one may ask? The answer is a BLACK LEOPARD. Yes, a black leopard, this creature exists. Nature guide Shaheen Patel from Legend Safaris and his guests are among the few fortunate people to have seen this mythical ghost of the night. The incredible moment was captured on camera and shared with LatestSightings.com.
“One evening, on a safari in Laikipia Wilderness Camp, Kenya. A mother impala and her young lamb were spooked out of the darkness by two striped hyenas. Fear and confusion engulfed the young, feeble lamb, and it scurried along the dusty earth. Then, as if a ghost appeared out of nowhere, a dark figure pounced, and the lamb was grounded.”
Leopards are ambush predators and will use camouflage when stalking prey. It allows them to get close to the unsuspecting prey and strike without using much energy chasing their quarry.
“When we shed light onto the chaos, there she was in all her glory—the rarest of them all, the infamous black leopard of Africa. We were stunned by what was unveiled before us. Not only did we witness Africa’s rarest cat, but we had just seen her successfully hunt an impala lamb!”
Black leopards are no different from regular leopards. The main difference is in the genes; black leopards possess a genetic condition that makes them produce excess melanin – hence their alternative name, melanistic leopards. This results in their usually golden coat being black. The famous leopard print is present on black leopards; however, the excessive melanin conceals the rosette patterns.
“Shortly after, she placed a stranglehold on the young lamb. A “normal” male leopard trailing her ran and took over the kill. The black leopard turned and ran. Just like that, she was gone. Emerging from the darkness and disappearing back into the night”
What makes this leopard so rare is that she is one of a few free-roaming black leopards. Getting to spend time with any leopard is special, but getting to spend time with a rare melanistic leopard in its natural environment, is just unbelievable.