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An amateur photographer was lucky enough to stumble across an extremely rare 'black' tiger, managing to capture the magnificent beast in a series of stunning photos.
Soumen Bajpayee saw the melanistic tiger - also known as black tigers because of their thick black stripes that hide their orange fur - in eastern Odisha, India.
The big cat is one of just six that are thought to exist in the world, making it very rare.
On the verge of extinction, the species is only found in the jungles of the Indian state.
The black tigers are smaller than their regular counterparts, with Bajpayee saying the one he spotted took him by surprise as it didn't look 'like a usual tiger'.
Bajpayee, a 27-year-old student of Masters in Technology from Kolkata in West Bengal, was on a visit to the sanctuary when he saw the tiger, having been watching birds and monkeys.
He said: "I was surprised and felt fortunate to have seen the tiger.
"I was watching various birds and monkeys in the trees when I suddenly saw something which looked like a tiger but not like a usual tiger. Back then I didn't have any idea about Melanistic Tigers.
"Then suddenly it appeared from the woods, stayed for few seconds and walked back behind the trees."
Bajpayee was so startled by the unique species of tiger that he didn't realise what he saw at first.
He continued: "Initially I didn't even recognise what happened as I saw a completely different tiger.
"I had seen many tigers before both in the wild and in captivity but this was completely a different one.
"Nandankan is the first sanctuary to show [a] melanistic tiger, but there is no guarantee you can see it because in Nadankanan they roam in [the] natural environment and the number is just one or two.
"I was extremely grateful to see it myself even though it was for few seconds."
Bajpayee said the tigers have previously been captured using camera traps, but he was lucky to spot one in the way he did.
He added: "With the help of camera traps, it has been found that there are only six or seven melanistic tigers only in the Simlipal Reserve and Nandankanan Sanctuary in the state of Odisha.
"We hope that these tigers mate with other tigers so that we have chance to get more Melanistic cubs.
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