African Black Leopard Captured on Camera for the First Time in a Century

Will Burrard-Lucas
Will Burrard-Lucas

Photographer Will Burrard-Lucas has taken what are likely the best images of an African black leopard ever recorded. The elusive animal is rarely seen in the wild, and it's been captured on film even less often. Now photographs of the big cat are circulating around the world.

As The Guardian reports, the leopard's black fur, still patterned with the species's signature spots, is the result of a rare genetic disorder called melanism. An African black leopard was first photographed in 1909 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and though there have been sightings, no confirmed pictures of the animal have been taken since.

Black leopard at night
Will Burrard-Lucas

Burrard-Lucas, a wildlife photographer based in London, set out to become the first person to document a black leopard in a century when he heard reports of one in the Laikipia Wilderness Camp in Kenya. Based on eyewitness accounts from locals and animal tracks, he found a spot to set up a Camtraptions Camera Trap in the park. If an animal, like a black leopard, passed through the area at night, wireless motion sensors would trigger the camera and snap a picture.

Black leopard at night
Will Burrard-Lucas

The trap was active for several nights before it finally captured the photos of a lifetime. The pictures show a black leopard staring down the camera and skulking under a full moon, and in each image its unique, mottled coat is fully visible. Burrard-Lucas also recorded clear footage of the leopard prowling around the Laikipia Wilderness Camp at night.

Like albinism, melanism is a rare mutation that results in abnormal pigmentation (in the case of melanism, there's an overabundance of melanin rather than too little). Most leopards with melanism live in Southeast Asia, making the photographs taken in Africa even more remarkable.

Black leopard at night
Will Burrard-Lucas

[h/t The Guardian]

This Innovative Cutting Board Takes the Mess Out of Meal Prep

There's no way any of these ingredients will end up on the floor.
There's no way any of these ingredients will end up on the floor.
TidyBoard, Kickstarter

Transferring food from the cutting board to the bowl—or scraps to the compost bin—can get a little messy, especially if you’re dealing with something that has a tendency to roll off the board, spill juice everywhere, or both (looking at you, cherry tomatoes).

The TidyBoard, available on Kickstarter, is a cutting board with attached containers that you can sweep your ingredients right into, taking the mess out of meal prep and saving you some counter space in the process. The board itself is 15 inches by 20 inches, and the container that fits in its empty slot is 14 inches long, 5.75 inches wide, and more than 4 inches deep. Two smaller containers fit inside the large one, making it easy to separate your ingredients.

Though the 4-pound board hangs off the edge of your counter, good old-fashioned physics will keep it from tipping off—as long as whatever you’re piling into the containers doesn’t exceed 9 pounds. It also comes with a second set of containers that work as strainers, so you can position the TidyBoard over the edge of your sink and drain excess water or juice from your ingredients as you go.

You can store food in the smaller containers, which have matching lids; and since they’re all made of BPA-free silicone, feel free to pop them in the microwave. (Remove the small stopper on top of the lid first for a built-in steaming hole.)

tidyboard storage containers
They also come in gray, if teal isn't your thing.
TidyBoard

Not only does the bamboo-made TidyBoard repel bacteria, it also won’t dull your knives or let strong odors seep into it. In short, it’s an opportunity to make cutting, cleaning, storing, and eating all easier, neater, and more efficient. Prices start at $79, and it’s expected to ship by October 2020—you can find out more details and order yours on Kickstarter.

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Fiona the Hippo Is Now on Cameo

Mark Dumont, Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0
Mark Dumont, Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0

Fiona the Hippo has earned her status as a celebrity. Born prematurely and weighing just 29 pounds in 2017, she became a sensation when she beat the odds and survived. Now, the Cincinnati Zoo's most beloved resident is taking her famous mug to Cameo.

Cameo is a service that allows fans to pay for personalized video messages from various celebrities. Most celebrities on the website are people, but that hasn't stopped Fiona from offering her star presence to the public.

For $100, you can request a custom video from the Cincinnati Zoo starring Fiona. A zoo staff member will recite the message while filming Fiona being adorable in her enclosure. One example video shows Fiona hanging out with her mom and snacking on some lettuce while her caretaker wishes the recipient a happy birthday.

Animal lovers who pay for a Cameo from Fiona will be supporting a good cause, too. Proceeds from the purchase will go to the Cincinnati Zoo, which is currently operating at limited capacity due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If you have a Cameo account, you can request your own video message for $100 here.

This isn't the first time the Cincinnati Zoo has used Fiona's popularity as a fundraising tool. Earlier this year, the zoo started selling the dung left behind by Fiona and other animals as garden fertilizer.