There’s been several anecdotal research of the black leopard’s remained surviving in Africa ever since its last confirmed sighting in 1909 , but a squad of San Diego Zoo biologists and finally managed to get actual, photographic evidence.
The black leopard hasn’t been photographed in Africa in more than a century. Now, 110 years later, biologists from the San Diego Zoo have broken that trend.
“It is likely that black leopards have been living in Kenya all along, it is only that high-quality imagery to confirm it has been missing until now,” said Pilfold.
However, Kenyan newspaper Daily Nation claimed on Tuesday that its own photographer, Phoebe Okall, already photographed a black leopard in Kenya as far back as 2013, it’s currently unclear whether or not that image ever saw the light of day at the time. Leader of Nairobi’s Ukweli Party, Boniface Mwangi, is adamant the first modern documented sighting belongs to Okall.
“Prior to the observations in our published paper, the last confirmed observation (in the published record) was 1909 in Ethiopia,” said Pilfold, adding that despite numerous reported sightings of the species in Africa, black leopards are highly rare on the continent.
“We intensified our camera placement in the area the reports were being made,” said Pilfold. “Within a few months, we were rewarded with multiple observations on our cameras.“Despite many challenges in the sector, Kenya’s wildlife continues to awe and inspire the world,” said Kahumbu. “I hope that this rare find persuades the authorities that we must balance conservation with development to protect our spectacular and mysterious species. I…hope it inspires a new generation of Kenyan wildlife scientists.”