A historic sighting of a very rare Black leopard was caught on video in Africa in late December of last year.
The sighting is said to be the first time in a full decade one of these unique creatures has been seen.
According to National Geographic, a Kenya-based biologist and his team deployed a set of camera traps throughout the bushlands of Loisaba Conservancy in early 2018. It wasn’t long before he got what he was looking for: undeniable proof of a super-rare melanistic leopard.
The juvenile female was spotted traveling with a larger, normally colored leopard, presumed to be her mother.
As recently as 2017, only a single sighting had been confirmed—a 1909 photograph taken in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and stored in the collections of the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. Their range across much of the continent has shrunk by at least 66 percent due to habitat loss and prey decline.
“Almost everyone has a story about seeing one, it’s such a mythical thing,” says Pilfold, of San Diego Zoo Global’s Institute for Conservation Research.
“Even when you talk to the older guys that were guides in Kenya many years ago, back when hunting was legal [in the 1950s and ‘60s], there was a known thing that you didn’t hunt black leopards. If you saw them, you didn’t take it.”