Date:September 22, 2020

Believed to Be Extinct, The Rare Black Panther Rediscovered in Sri Lanka

We know that a black panther is an extremely rare animal. But it is believed that four black panthers have been seen in Sri Lanka, in a camera that the Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC) in Sri Lanka has decided to set up, after receiving some information from local villagers that some black panthers have been spotted. And the results didn’t disappoint: cameras have snapped four different creatures one female, one male, and two cubs. The recording was originally recorded last October.

In Sri Lanka, a couple of years back, a black panther was found, it was dead in a snare. The creature was believed to be the last to exist in the Teardrop of India. But, Sri Lanka’s Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC) has declared that it has seen black panthers in the backwoods of Adam’s Peak, making them never again considered extinct in the country.

While its striking appearance may cause the black panther to appear to be like a unique species, with unique characteristics due to a color mutation variation of a number of different big cats like leopards and jaguars and they make their habitat in cool and dark places. Also, they are known as melanistic, which means they have a genetic mutation that gives them unusually high levels of the pigment melanin, making their fur jet black with subtle spots.

Melanism is basically the opposite of albinism, which causes pale shading because of an absence of color. Melanistic leopards can be found across Asia and Africa, but just around 11 percent of panthers are melanistic. It’s an idea that their dark coat gives them an advantage in shady forests as they can stay hidden from their prey. So, black panthers will, in general, be found in dense tropical forests, while their more colorful counterparts do better in less covered areas, like Africa’s shrublands.

Hasini Sarachchandra, DWC spokesperson said for Sri Lankan Daily Mirror: “The Sri Lankan Black Leopard is believed to have gained its unique characteristics due to a color mutation. Out of the eight species of panthers living in the world, the sub-species, Sri Lankan Leopard is extraordinary due to its very limited population.”

This research was led by DWC’s Dr. Malaka Abeywardene and Dr. Manoj Akalanka. Dr. Abeywardene spoke for NewsIn Asia: “The reason for these animals being black is mainly an adaptation for hunting purposes and for protection of their kind since they mostly roam in cold and dark places,” noting the importance of conserving these beautiful and rare cats. “We request the general public to come forward to protect these animals since they are an important gift given by mother nature.”