Will Burrard-Lucas was ever-so happy that a black cat had crossed his path, more precisely is his camera path.
Will has been a full-time wildlife photographer since 2010, and after years of snapping, all his hard work has perfectly reflected in one of his most recent photos.
In Laikipia, Kenya, Will took a series of high-quality camera trap images of a wild melanistic leopard (otherwise known as a black panther).
Nick Pilfold, a global conservation scientist at the San Diego Zoo, said it was the first time the animal had been photographed in Africa since 1909.
“The leopard’s coat is pitch black due to melanism, a genetic mutation that leads to an overproduction of pigment.”
“It is the opposite of albinism. And even though the leopard has black fur during the day, its rosette patterns are still visible in infrared images at nighttime.”
How did Burrard-Lucas capture the images?
“Images were taken at Laikipia Wilderness Camp in Kenya, using [self-made] Camtraptions camera traps,
“Each trap is made up of a Camtraptions motion sensor, which wirelessly triggers a high-quality DSLR or mirrorless camera and two or three flashes.
“I leave these cameras in the game path for days or even weeks at a time to photograph elusive animals. This technique also allowed me to set up studio-like lighting to capture dramatic images of animals at night. ”
The biggest challenge for photographers was deciding where to place their camera traps.
“When I heard that a black panther had been seen at Laikipia Wilderness Camp in Kenya, my ears perked up, and I reached out to the owners, Steve and Annabelle Carey, to find out more.
“Steve confirmed it was true, and he has seen many black panthers over the years. When I got to Laikipia, Steve took me to see Luisa Ancilotto, who lived near the camp and had recently seen a black panther,
“She tells us as much as she knew about leopard habits and territories.”
See the rare black panther caught many times in Kenya: