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Real-Life Rare Black Panther Found Near 'Wakanda' May Not Be The First Sighting In 100 Years

A few days ago, rare unseen 'black leopard' was spotted near the fictional MCU location of Wakanda, and hailed as the first sighting in the last century. That, however, may not be true.

Raka Mukherjee | News18.com@RakaMukherjeee

Updated:February 16, 2019, 1:55 PM IST
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Real-Life Rare Black Panther Found Near 'Wakanda' May Not Be The First Sighting In 100 Years
Will Burrard-Lucas/ Instagram
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Last year, Marvel introduced us to Black Panther. This week, the world introduced to the 'real-life Black Panther.'

While black panthers are a real species and have existed since time immemorial, they're certainly not a common animal. You don't see them frequently in zoos, and you certainly don't see them in the wild.

In a first in the last 100 years, a black panther was spotted in the wild - and not very far from Marvel's fictional location of 'Wakanda.'

After it was spotted, Nicholas Pilfold, a scientist at San Diego Zoo shared a video of the animal and shared how, "For the past year we at Sandiego Zoo have been collecting videos of black leopards as part of our ongoing leopard conservation work in Laikipia County, Kenya. And we recently published our findings."

Confirming the existence of Black Panthers he added, "Black panthers are uncommon, only about 11% of leopards globally are black. But black panthers in Africa are extremely rare. Our new paper confirms black leopards living in Laikipia County, Kenya, and our observations in the paper are collectively the first confirmed cases in Africa in nearly 100 years. It is certain black panthers have been there all along, but good footage that could confirm it has always been absent until now."

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From out of the darkness and into the light. For the past year we at @sandiegozoo have been collecting videos of black leopards as part of our ongoing leopard conservation work in Laikipia County, Kenya. And we recently published our findings (👉). . . Black panthers are uncommon, only about 11% of leopards globally are black. But black panthers in Africa are extremely rare. Our new paper confirms black leopards living in Laikipia County, Kenya, and our observations in the paper are collectively the first confirmed cases in Africa in nearly 100 years. It is certain black panthers have been there all along, but good footage that could confirm it has always been absent until now. . . Leopard research conducted by @sandiegozoo is supported by our terrific partners: @loisaba_conservancy @mpalalive @nature_africa @kenyawildlifeservice @laikipia_county . . . . . #endextinction #landconnectedlifeprotected #leopard #blackpanther #blackleopard #kenya #laikipia #conservation #wildlife #nature #earthcapture @natgeo @bbcearth @dalylizzie @letoluai___ambrose

A post shared by Nicholas Pilfold, Ph.D. 🇨🇦 (@_life_of_a_biologist_) on

Will Burrard-Lucas a wildlife photographer at Camtraptions also took to social media to share some startling images of black panther.

However, it turns out - that this black panther spotted may not actually be native to Kenya, but actually from New York.

A New Scientist report finds that the viral photo which has been circulating may not have been the first in the century to actually appear.

In 2013, Phoebe Okall, a photographer for Kenya’s Daily Nation newspaper, captured an image at Ol Jogi Conservancy, around 50 kilometres from the Loisaba Conservancy where the more recent photos were taken.

That panther, named Bagheera, was not born in the wild though – he was rescued from a pet shop in New York and brought to Kenya as a cub.

Pilford’s, the scientist who confirmed the new photos and shared them, also had a journal paper reporting the new photos also included an image taken in 2007, which shows a black leopard at Ol Ari Nyiro Conservancy, about 50 kilometres west of Loisaba Conservancy.

Black panther, also called leopards, have a gene mutation that results in their unusual dark coat – a condition called melanism. They are extremely rare, and most often seen in South-East Asia.

While the chances that the recently captured black panther may not be the same one as the one from the 2013 photo, the recently spotted panther is not the first one spotted in the last century.

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