By Tim Binnall
A tourist on safari at a wildlife reserve in India snapped an incredible photo of a rare black leopard. The breathtaking image was reportedly captured by Abhishek Pangis as he and his family were visiting the Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve last summer. Strangely enough, although the young man posted the photo to social media last June it only just captured the attention of people online this past week and has subsequently gone viral around the world.
Recalling his experience encountering the remarkable creature, Pangis explained that it occurred on the second day of their trip and "I went blank when I spotted it. I hadn't seen anything so beautiful." Similar to someone who has just stumbled upon a Bigfoot, the young man mused that he amazed by what he was seeing that the thought of taking a picture did not cross his mind. "I was completely stunned," he recalled, "and came back to my senses after 10 minutes and started clicking pictures."
Amazingly, Pangis marveled, "usually people have seen it around for two or three minutes but I was very lucky as I could see it for 40 minutes." During that time, he snapped several photographs of the unusual-looking creature which had likely ventured out of hiding in order to drink some water from a pond as it was extremely hot at the time of the sighting. The big cat's unique appearance is due to a genetic mutation, known as melanism, wherein dark pigmentation develops in the skin.