1 minute ago
Kahn and Nikita. A son and his mother. Two of four black leopards who call the Kevin Richardson Wildlife Sanctuary their home.
Not to be confused with the black jaguar, whose melanism is expressed through a dominant allele, the extremely elusive black leopard's pelt is the result of a recessive allele. The typical markings are still visible if you (have the privilege and good luck to) look closely when the pelt catches the sun. This effect is called ghost striping. You can see it on the majestic Kahn.
Black leopards are found mostly in tropical and sub-tropical forests, based on camera trap research. However, sightings of the African subspecies (P. p. pardus) have been reported, though are incredibly rare, with the most recent being photographed by Will Burrard-Lucas in Kenya's Laikipia County just last month. It is the first time in over 100 years that a black leopard has been spotted in the wild!
Alas, this very rarity makes them a prime target for poachers and trophy hunters for their pelt and to meet the disgustingly insatiable Asian demand for their bones, said to provide (ABSOLUTELY NO) medicinal qualities. *cue eye roll at such stupid beliefs* Just yesterday, a Thai billionaire construction mogul, Premchai Karnasuta, was convicted of poaching a black leopard among other animals and sentenced to JUST 16 months in jail. Unsurprisingly, he was immediately released on bail of 400,000 Thai baht or US$12,600. *cue second eye roll at the greed of humans*
The leopard is listed as "Vulnerable", nearly "Threatened" on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. We still have time to turn the tide for these magnificent creatures, who have rightfully earned a spot as one of the Big 5. ➡️ WWW.CAPELEOPARD.ORG.ZA
blackleopard melanism melanin melanistic recessivegene panthera pantherapardus leopard leopardprint leopardcoat leopardcat leopardpattern leopardsofinstagram leopardconservation