A rare black leopard has been sighted in the Loisaba Conservancy in the Laikipia plateau, Kenya – the first sighting since 2017, with a prior recorded sighting of the cat being in 1909 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – the photograph of which is stored in the collections of the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.
The cat was caught using camera traps which were placed around the Conservancy and neighbouring properties through a collaborative partnership with San Diego Zoo Global, with the aim of conducing social and ecological research on the local leopard population in and around Loisaba, and to understand population dynamics of leopards, and the mechanisms that drive human-wildlife conflict to assess the efficacy of management decisions aimed at mitigating conflict.
Guests staying at Elewana Loisaba Tented Camp and Elewana Loisaba Star Beds may be lucky enough to spot the rare leopard, as well as learn about the cutting-edge conservation efforts in the area.
Dr. Nicholas Pilfold, Ph.D., San Diego Zoo Global scientist, says: “Regionally we’ve heard reports of black leopards living here in Kenya, but high-quality footage or imagery to support these observations has always been missing. That’s what we’ve provided here with our cameras, and now we’re able to confirm what has been long suspected about black leopards living in Laikipia County.”
“Black panthers are uncommon; only about 11% of leopards globally are black. But black panthers in Africa are extremely rare,” continues Pilfold.