A rare black leopard stalking at night was recorded in stunning photos by a British amateur photographer.
Earlier this month, 74-year-old Steve Darling was on a safari in Kenya when he saw the large cat as they were returning to camp.
After witnessing the juvenile female, dubbed Giza—the Swahili word for darkness—catch a dik-dik antelope, the Shrewsbury photographer claimed to be “shaking.”
We adore animals, he said, adding that he started taking photos after retiring. This was our first excursion following the COVID lockdown. The leopard pictures were taken on September 1st in Laikipia by a group of photographers under the direction of Federico Veronesi.
We had just followed the tracks of a male leopard back to the camp in the dark when Giza, the black leopard, suddenly materialised.
She is a stunning young woman who just recently left her mother, who is of average skin tone and was also in the area.
She hunts by crossing to the bank from her home on an island in the middle of the Ewaso Narok river.
Giza swiftly dispatched a dik-dik and then climbed up into an acacia tree for her supper after slicing through the underbrush.
We waited for her to finish for two hours before she down the tree and retreated into the undergrowth.
“I was literally shaking when she first appeared because I was so in awe of her grace and beauty.
“As you might guess, it is not easy to take nighttime spotlight photographs of a black leopard, so I was overjoyed when the results were ready.
Unfortunately, the swollen river prevented Giza from crossing it for the duration of our stay in the area due to the mountains’ excessive rain.
Black leopards are identical to other leopards except for a genetic mutation called melanism that affects the colour of their coat.
Most often, because dark people blend in better with their surroundings, they are better able to thrive and reproduce there. Some species become less obvious to predators as a result, and leopards use this as a foraging advantage while out at night.