117. Rare Black Leopard Photographed in Kenya

Linda and I are scheduled to take three morning and three evening safari rides in the area around Laikipia Wilderness Camp. In the last 18 months, special cameras have managed to photograph the elusive African black leopard in the area. Perviously believed to be completely absent in Kenya, a team of biologists have managed to shot rare footage of the sleek big cat after spending months watching and waiting.

About 11 percent of leopards globally are black. These beautiful leopards, with their sleek black coats, are more commonly found in tropical and humid Southeast Asia.
Black panthers in Africa are extremely rare. We now know that melanism, the cause of the leopard’s dark coloring, can also be found in leopards who live in semiarid climates, like that of Laikipia.

“For me, no animal is shrouded in more mystery, no animal more elusive,” says Will Burrard-Lucas, who shot the images of the black leopard.

Despite being called black leopards, they are usually very dark brown and have the same pattern of spots as other leopards.

The total extent to which the leopard population has declined is unknown.
Three subspecies of the leopard are classified as “critically endangered,” and two others as “endangered.”

35. Sir Carl L. and The Big Five

The Big Five

These guys are at the top of every visitor’s Must-see Safari List. Travel books will tell you when and where to find them, and why these five animals carry the Big Five moniker.

Hippos aren’t on the list, and they’re bigger than the lions and leopards who are listed.


Giraffes, the tallest animals in the world, aren’t included either.


The large Kudu Antelope was snubbed as well.


So what gives?


The term “Big Five” was coined by game hunters in the late 1800s.
It refers to Africa’s five most challenging and dangerous animals to hunt on foot.
Nowadays the term is used by safari guides and game reserves, both public and private, to entice visitors to use their facilities. “Come visit our reserve and you will see all five of Africa’s most touted mammals. Prepare to be awestruck”

Want to be able to list the names of The Big Five in rapid fire order? Just think of that recently knighted zoologist and endangered species specialist, Sir Carl L.

C – cape buffalo
A – African elephant
R – rhinoceros
L – lion
L – leopard

We’ll begin to examine one or two of The Big Five in later posts.