Camera spots Kenya's rare black panther

By George Sargent LONDON (Reuters) - Images of a rare African black leopard have been captured in Kenya, the first verifiable record of the animal for nearly 100 years, researchers have said.     British wildlife photographer Will Burrard-Lucas set up motion-sensitive cameras to capture the largely nocturnal cat in Laikipia Wilderness Camp in January.     'I'm able to set up a kind of studio-like lighting and just leave my cameras set up for weeks or months,' he told Reuters

Reuters February 14, 2019 03:06:19 IST
Camera spots Kenya's rare black panther

Camera spots Kenyas rare black panther

By George Sargent

LONDON (Reuters) - Images of a rare African black leopard have been captured in Kenya, the first verifiable record of the animal for nearly 100 years, researchers have said.

    British wildlife photographer Will Burrard-Lucas set up motion-sensitive cameras to capture the largely nocturnal cat in Laikipia Wilderness Camp in January.

    "I'm able to set up a kind of studio-like lighting and just leave my cameras set up for weeks or months," he told Reuters.

Black leopards - or panthers - carry a gene mutation for "melanism" that makes their coats black, but the night-time infrared cameras used by Burrard-Lucas can reveal their spots.

While he was capturing stills, researchers from San Diego Zoo Global studying leopards in the area set up remote video cameras nearby, publishing their findings in the African Journal of Ecology.

"Collectively, these are the first confirmed images in nearly 100 years of black leopard in Africa," said Nicholas Pilfold of the San Diego team, also lead researcher for a leopard conservation program in Laikipia County.

Burrard-Lucas heard from a friend that a black leopard had been spotted in the area and, after contacting the landowners, headed off to set out his cameras near the animal's tracks.

    "It's very dusty, so you can pick up tracks especially early in the morning after the night," he said. "You can see everything that's passed."

    Scientists had assumed that a black coat was an evolutionary response to leopards moving out of the dense forests where their spots camouflage them, San Diego Zoo said in its statement. The discovery of a black leopard in a open, arid habitat in Kenya raises questions about that theory, however.

(Editing by Kevin Liffey)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.