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Extremely rare black leopard 'Begheera' caught on camera for first time in two years

Callum Jones

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Extremely rare black leopard 'Begheera' caught on camera for first time in two years

Featured Image Credit: @penchmp/Twitter

An extremely rare black leopard has been caught on camera in India after not being seen for nearly two years. Take a look at the incredible moment below:

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The leopard - which has visibly darkened fur around its spots - was spotted recently at the Pench National Park in the forests of Bhopal, which is located in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh.

This big cat is dubbed as 'Begheera', a name believed to have come from the popular Jungle Book character.

The Begheera was last seen in November 2020, with park officials believing it is the same leopard that was seen before.

The footage of the animal, uploaded by Pench Tiger Reserve, shows it darting across a road and even sitting on top of a tree, as well as being seen trotting away into the forest when no one is looking.

The sighting of the rare big cat is the first in two years. Credit: @penchmp/Twitter
The sighting of the rare big cat is the first in two years. Credit: @penchmp/Twitter

The rare big cat is also seen with another leopard, although this cat friend is not as rare due to it donning regular spots, patterns and colourings.

Scientists say the leopard's black colour is due to melanism - an increase of dark pigment in the plumage, which results in a darker appearance.

Black leopards are usually found in dense forests, as their dark appearance is thought to help them hide in the shadows.

Most recorded sightings of black leopards have been found in Asia, and are rarely found in Africa due to the country's landscape.

Other sightings of rare creatures have been common in India in recent months and the whole of 2022.

Earlier this year, two rare 'black' tigers were spotted in the Nandankanan National Park in the eastern part of the country.

The extremely rare animals have only been seen in the Odisha state with experts in the past couple of years claiming there were as few as seven to eight of them left in the region.

These tigers were even rare when the population of wild cats were strong in India centuries ago.

Black tigers get their distinctive appearance due to genetic mutations called pseudo-melanism, which is another form of pigmentation that is identifiable by dark spots or enlarged stripes.

Topics: News, Animals

Callum Jones
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