by Allison Torres, age 14
Leopards are one of the most fascinating big cats from Africa. They are one of the strongest climbers and can kill prey even larger than themselves. It is very rare to see black leopards in desert areas of Africa. Scientists say only about 11% of leopards around the world are black. All leopards have spots, no matter what color they are. But, that is what makes black leopards special: their spots are hard to see.
It is more common to see black leopards in tropical areas of Asia and Africa, where several sightings have been reported. Recently, conservationists from the Institute for Conservation Research and specialists from the Loisaba Conservancy have confirmed the existence of black panthers (also known as black leopards) in East Africa. These animals were recently spotted due to a study in Laikipia County in Kenya. The scientific team used remote cameras to observe them. Africa has a few reported observations of these species. What makes this more interesting and highlights the uniqueness of the black panther, is that there has only been one confirmed sighting in over 100 years.
While these animals are incredible, it is unfortunate that they are listed as one of the many endangered species on the planet. However, it is never too late to save these creatures and gain more knowledge about how their habitats and lives can be conserved. [Read More]