Women's Health

British photographer is ‘trembling’ after capturing photographs of rare black leopard


An amateur British photographer has captured breathtaking images of a rare black leopard stalking the night.

Steve Darling, 74, was on a safari in Kenya earlier this month when he spotted the big cat as they returned to camp.

The Shrewsbury snapper said he was “shaking” after watching the young female, named Giza, the Swahili word for darkness, catch a dik-dik antelope.

He explained, “We love wildlife and I started photography after I retired. This was our first trip after the covid lockdown.

An amateur British photographer has captured breathtaking images of a rare black leopard stalking the night

Steve Darling, 74, was on a safari in Kenya earlier this month when he spotted the big cat as they returned to camp

Steve Darling, 74, was on a safari in Kenya earlier this month when he spotted the big cat as they returned to camp

The Shrewsbury snapper said he was 'shaking' after watching the young female, named Giza, the Swahili word for darkness, catch a dik-dik antelope

The Shrewsbury snapper said he was ‘shaking’ after watching the young female, named Giza, the Swahili word for darkness, catch a dik-dik antelope

“The pictures of the leopard were taken in Laikipia on September 1, during a trip with a group of photographers led by Federico Veronesi.

“We were on our way back to camp in the dark after following the tracks of a male leopard when Giza the black leopard appeared.

“She is a beautiful young woman, who recently left her mother of normal color, who was also around.

“She lives on an island in the center of the Ewaso Narok River and crosses the bank to hunt.

He explains: “We love wildlife and I started photography after my retirement.  This was our first trip after the covid lockdown

He explains: “We love wildlife and I started photography after my retirement. This was our first trip after the covid lockdown

“The photos of the leopard were taken in Laikipia on September 1, during a trip with a group of photographers led by Federico Veronesi”

“She is a beautiful young woman, who left her mother of normal color shortly, who was also around”

‘Giza made her way through the brush, easily killed a dik-dik, then moved into an acacia tree for her meal.

“We waited two hours until she was done, when she came down from the tree and melted into the bush again.

“I was absolutely in awe of her grace and beauty and was shaking when she first appeared.

“As you can imagine, photographing a black leopard at night with spotlights isn’t straightforward, and I was so happy when the results were available.

“Unfortunately heavy rain in the mountains caused the river to swell and Giza was unable to cross during our remaining stay in the area.”

Black leopards only differ from other leopards in their coat color, a genetic variation known as melanism.

More often than not, dark individuals become better able to survive and reproduce in their environment because they are better camouflaged. This makes some species less visible to predators, with leopards using it as a foraging advantage during nighttime hunting.


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