A rare female black leopard has been captured on camera in central Kenya, the first photographed in the wild for more than 100 years.
They were captured by Will Burrad-Lucas, 35, from Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, at Kenya's Laikipia Wilderness Camp last month.
The Guardian quotes Pilfold as saying that while there have been recorded reports of black leopards in Africa for more than a century, only one had been confirmed with photographic evidence, a 1909 photograph taken in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The leopard's appearance is attributed to melanism - the development of the dark-coloured pigment melanin in the skin or hair of animals.
He says that he used a plethora of camera traps each consisting of a Camtraptions wireless motion sensor, a high-quality DSLR camera and two or three flashes.
Will has left his cameras at the park in Kenya and is flying back in a few weeks to see what else they've picked up - but time to get more pictures is running out.
Black leopards are usually associated with dense forests where their dark colouration is thought to help them hide in the shadows.
Pilfold's trap paid off, resulting in a black and white portrait of the big cat slinking through the undergrowth.
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The Brit said he couldn't believe it when he returned to one of the traps one day and saw a black leopard staring back at the camera lens.
"I couldn't believe it", Burrard-Lucas writes in a blog post.
Biologist, Nicholas Pilfold PhD, who assisted Mr Burrard-Lucas with his photography project, confirmed the extremely rare nature of the photographs.
In a video documenting his photography expedition, Burrard-Lucas explains: "As far as I know none of these leopards has been photographed properly in Africa before".
Black leopards may have been living in Kenya all along, but there's been no footage to confirm the observations until now, Pilfold said. (Supplied) Black panthers are an umbrella term that refers to any big cat with a black coat.
Burrard-Lucas had heard reports of black leopard sightings, such as the one published in January in the African Journal of Ecology by San Diego Zoo Global researchers.
"A black panther is basically a melanistic big cat".
"Coincidentally, our observations are very close to where the fantasy Marvel comic country of Wakanda is suggested to be located", he said. The cat is so rare it has taken on an nearly mythical status, which is reflected by the fact the creature hadn't been photographed in Africa in nearly 100 years.