Although the indigenous variety of leopards is commonplace, the melanistic colour variant of the wild cat is rare; locals excited to see it near Pandam tea estate recently
Darjeeling: A video of a black panther that was spotted at the Pandam tea estate in Darjeeling has gone viral.
The video was shot by a local resident Pankaj Subba. "We spotted the black panther in Pandam Tea Estate few days ago. Although we haven't verified the exact location in Pandam, we have locally confirmed that this video was shot there," he said.
Black panthers are very rare, and to see one in the mountains is indeed rarest of them all, said Subba. Although the indigenous variety of leopards is a common sight in the region, the melanistic colour variant of the wild cat is difficult to spot.
The black colour in these mammals is caused by melanism. Close examination of the colour of these black cats will show that the typical markings are still present, but are hidden by the excess black pigment melanin, giving an effect similar to that of printed silk. This is called "ghost striping".