Wildlife Photographer Snaps Stunning Pics Of Extremely Rare Black Leopard
Anurag Gawande, 24, was gobsmacked when he saw the melanistic leopard emerge from the bushes in Tadoba National Park, India.
The photographer said spotting the leopard roaming was like "finding a needle in haystack" after waiting two years to catch a glimpse.
"When you watch him with open eyes you don't see any spots it looks totally black," said Anurag, who runs a jungle safari in Maharashtra, central India.
"Its coat was shining and even though the whole encounter lasted for about one minute, this leopard has given me the most iconic moment of my life."
The photographer was on a safari with his mother and brother at the time of the encounter.
"I was waiting for a tiger to come out of bushes as there was a strong calling of deers," he explained.
"As I was heading towards the hill top, I saw two gypsy cars lined up with the leopard some moments ago.
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"I waited there for about five minutes and heard calling of sambar deer and on the other side when suddenly the guide shouted - 'Blacky! Blacky!' It was black leopard."
While exact amounts of black leopards are unknown, they are are extremely rare with only a few sightings occurring every 100 years.
The opposite of albinism, melanism is when the animal has a gene which produces excess pigment in the skin or hair that causes it to appear black.
Though the leopard ran into the bushes as it was scared of the vehicle's noise, Anurag said it was eventually came out after a couple of minutes.
"When he started walking, I was able to see some of his spots and also because of his black colour his whites paw stood out," he recalled.
"I was in search of him for the last two years. It was a dream come true moment. I was very excited but at the same time I knew it could be my first and last chance of capturing him.
"I calmed myself and held my camera and started capturing. He started crossing the road. The whole moment was over in one minute."
What a moment!
Featured Image Credit: Caters
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