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Black Leopard

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Malealea
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Black Leopard

Unread postby Malealea » Mon Aug 22, 2011 5:33 pm

My Grand Mom swear that she saw a Black leopard in the late 60´s: I just want to know if other people saw Black Leopards as well. For me it is just important to verify the fackt, hough time doesn´t play a big role. Doesn´t matter if past or now.
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Imberbe
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Re: Black Leopard

Unread postby Imberbe » Mon Aug 22, 2011 5:48 pm

There were rumours of black leopards in the Lydenburg area, and Mpumalanga Parks Board even did investigations to establish the authenticity of the rumours. As far as I can remember nothing was ever found to substantiate these rumours.
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Re: Black Leopard

Unread postby DuQues » Mon Aug 22, 2011 5:54 pm

If I check Wikipedia there seems to be a basis though:
A melanistic morph of the leopard occurs, particularly in mountainous areas and rain forests. The black color is heritable and caused by recessive gene loci.[7] (They are commonly called black panthers, although the term is not exclusive to leopards; it also applies to melanistic jaguars.)

Melanistic leopards are particularly common on the Malayan Peninsula. Early reports suggested that up to half of all leopards are black, but a 2007 camera-trap study in Taman Negara National Park found that all specimens were melanistic. The benefits of melanism are difficult to interpret, but it may serve as camouflage in the rainforest habitat. It is also possible that the color variation is a relic adaptation to an epidemic; genes causing melanism can also affect the immune system.[8][9] Genetic research has found four independent origins for melanism in cats, suggesting that there may be an adaptive advantage.[7]

In Africa, black leopards are much less common, as melanism is not an adaptive advantage in the savanna. Dark coloration provides poor camouflage and makes hunting difficult. In the dense forests of the Ethiopian Highlands, however, the black leopard is much more common than in Africa generally; as many as one in five leopards may be melanistic.[10]

Pseudo-melanism (abundism) occurs in leopards. A pseudo-melanistic leopard has a normal background color, but the spots are more densely packed than normal and merge to obscure the golden-brown background color. Any spots on the flanks and limbs that have not merged into the mass of swirls and stripes are unusually small and discrete, rather than forming rosettes. The face and underparts are paler and dappled like those of ordinary spotted leopards.[11]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leopard
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Re: Black Leopard

Unread postby RosemaryH » Mon Aug 22, 2011 6:11 pm

According to the book "Kruger National Park - Questions and Answers" by PF Fourie and updated by Dr G De Graaf the question "Are there black panthers in the Park?" was asked - the reply:

"The so-called black panther of the East, a melanistic form of the leopard, is far more common in Asia than in Africa, but is not a different species. The gene for melanism - the opposite to albinism - is actually recessive, and to produce a black race extensive inbreeding would be necessary. Seen obliquely, the black specimens still show faint spots and rosettes. None have been observed in the Park."
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Re: Black Leopard

Unread postby Richprins » Mon Aug 22, 2011 6:49 pm

Ja.

I don't think they occur naturally in Southern Africa.

The Lydenburg one was either a hoax or an escaped game farm or privately owned specimen, I think!

There are a lot of weird animals kept privately here, as in the rest of the world!

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Re: Black Leopard

Unread postby Bundi » Wed Aug 24, 2011 8:01 am

Considering the very dark colour of some giraffes in Kruger, as well as the right amount of low light, I can easily see how a similar "darker" leopard can be mistaken for a black leopard.

And I am in no way insinuating that it is not possible.

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Re: Black Leopard

Unread postby o-dog » Wed Aug 24, 2011 11:51 am

I wouldn't be surprised if a black leopard has existed sometime in the last 100 years in the KNP...


Like for me seeing what I was convinced was a black caracal in the West Coast National Park...I know what I saw with my own eyes but I would do anything for this sighting again because I cant be 100% sure. Whether its the mind playing tricks or if these guys exist, only time will tell!

Oneday though, I am convinced someone will see one of these rarities in the next 20 years in our SANParks with a photo to prove it! Cant wait for that! It really boils down to a genetic lottery so it will happen!!
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Re: Black Leopard

Unread postby wildtuinman » Tue Aug 30, 2011 1:13 pm

Malealea wrote:My Grand Mom swear that she saw a Black leopard in the late 60´s: I just want to know if other people saw Black Leopards as well. For me it is just important to verify the fackt, hough time doesn´t play a big role. Doesn´t matter if past or now.


My mom also told me about her Melanistic leopard sighting in Kruger in the 60's. So yes, you may verify that fact. :wink:
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Re: Black Leopard

Unread postby andrewbabs » Tue Sep 06, 2011 6:04 pm

OK on the black leopard issue! There is one that is in the johannesburg area in some predator centre but cant say where as im not 100% sure! I have seen the phots of this leopard and it does occure but the rossets can still be seen! I know of a male leopard thats in the Lugmag dam area that is very dark but still not black! These colour variations can occur and is not impossible! ON the giraffe issue; Giraffes go black with old age! there are quite alot of them arround! On the S100 close to satarathere was a very old bull that was almost totaly black and one had to be close to it to see the very faint lines on it! Hope this helps

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Re: Black Leopard

Unread postby Scipio » Tue Sep 06, 2011 7:08 pm

In the 70's, with the family we saw a "Black Leopard on the Skuks-Lower Sabie road, but ypu could still see the rosettes, 8)

So not a Black Leopard, IMHO. :hmz:

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Re: Black Leopard

Unread postby Bushmad » Thu Sep 08, 2011 11:00 am

Very interesting Scipio!

When you say that you could still see the rosettes, was there any cream / beige / tan colouring visible between the black? Or could you see rosette patterning against an entirely dark coat without any light colouring?

If the former is the case, then it sounds like you saw a very heavily rosetted Leopard (still unusual). However, if the latter is what you saw, then I think that definitely classifies as a "Black" Leopard....
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Black Leopard

Unread postby bobbyleigh » Sun Jan 20, 2013 7:56 pm

We, my SO and I were traveling north from Malalane Camp to Satara on the 3rd January 2013 on the H3.
It was 10h30 in the morning and we had just had a sighting with a lot of cars and we continued our journey we were 1.5km from the Biyamiti river Bridge when all of a sudden in the middle of the road was a 'Large Black Cat" crouching across the road ......
my SO stalled the car and we both with equally confused looks stared at this animal- A Large Black Cat the size of a Leopard with a smallish head and a long curled tail and pitch black marks - rosettes all over its body dashed crouching across the road into a deep ditch on the left hand side of the road.
well confusion grabbing camera looking at each other "What WAS that?".
we searched the bushes and trees and found nothing then we heard a Leopard calling and 20meters away we found a leopard an "ordinary leopard" which turned and disappeared into the bush.
I have only a picture of its retreating rump.
Please help "what DID we see?"
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Re: Black Leopard

Unread postby RosemaryH » Sun Jan 20, 2013 8:11 pm

:big_eyes: Can you share the picture of the retreating rump bobbyleigh? Sounds very interesting :popcorn:
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Imberbe
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Re: Black Leopard

Unread postby Imberbe » Sun Jan 20, 2013 8:24 pm

Black leopard (or rather more accurately a melanistic leapord) has never been recorded in KNP as far as I am aware. Melanism is a development of dark-colored pigment in the skin and is the opposite of albinism. There has been some rumours of such leopards in the Lydenburg area but despite serious efforts none have been found.

Melanism is however a well know occurrence and it is not impossible that such an animal could appear in KNP.

What is well known is the occurrence of what is called "king cheetahs" which is a darker than normal cheetah. It is however very scarce and there are again none currently known within KNP.
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Ifubesi
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Re: Black Leopard

Unread postby Ifubesi » Sun Jan 20, 2013 8:58 pm

Hi Bobbyleigh.
Was the photo you took of the "normal" leopard? No photos of the black cat, no matter how bad? If its a black leopard it would be the sighting of a lifetime! :big_eyes:
The only thing I can think of that it could be is a civet, but its a nocturnal animal and doesn't have a curly tail. Its also smaller than a leopard. So this is mystery...
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