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Photographer captures the perfect moment when a female leopard is eclipsed by her black panther mate

Me and my shadow! Photographer captures the perfect moment when a female leopard is eclipsed by her black panther mate

  • Saaya, the 120-pound male panther, is seen in the shadow of his 89-pound female partner, Cleopatra
  • Indian photographer Mithun Hunugund, 32, photographed the couple in Karnataka for six days
  • Saaya is eight years old, while Cleopatra is 12 years old, and the pair share an eight-month-old cub
  • About 11 percent of leopards are melanistic – the unique pigmentation that blacken their coats and skin

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A wildlife photographer has taken remarkable photos of a female leopard in the shadow of her black panther mate in India.

The rare shot showed Saaya, the 120-pound male panther, shadowed by his 89-pound female leopard buddy, Cleopatra.

Saaya is eight years old, while spotty Cleopatra is 12 years old. The panther leopard’s parents are a couple for four years and together have an eight-month-old cub.

“This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity; I can close my eyes and relive the moment that I meet them over and over again, ‘says 32-year-old photographer Mithun Hunugund from India. “I’ve been waiting for these photos for six days,”

“I placed myself near a water source in their hunting area. I was about two hundred yards away, ”he added. “They light up the forest. To see that was absolutely breathtaking. ‘

Black panthers are melanistic. Their color variant is caused by a recessive allele, which means that a child does not share the color of the father.

About 11 percent of leopards have the unique pigmentation, making them a rare sight.

Nature photographer Mithun Hunugund captured this wonderful moment in which a female leopard is overshadowed by her black panther mate in Kabini, Karnataka, India

Nature photographer Mithun Hunugund captured this wonderful moment in which a female leopard is overshadowed by her black panther mate in Kabini, Karnataka, India

Saaya, the 120-pound male panther (right) was seen shading his 89-pound female partner, Cleopatra, who happens to be a leopard (left)

Saaya, the 120-pound male panther (right) was seen shading his 89-pound female partner, Cleopatra, who happens to be a leopard (left)

Saaya, the 120-pound male panther (right) was seen shading his 89-pound female partner, Cleopatra, who happens to be a leopard (left)

The big cat couple is four years old and shares an eight month old cub. Photographer Mithun Hunugund, 32, from India, photographed the couple for six days to capture the perfect moment

The big cat couple is four years old and shares an eight month old cub. Photographer Mithun Hunugund, 32, from India, photographed the couple for six days to capture the perfect moment

The big cat couple is four years old and shares an eight month old cub. Photographer Mithun Hunugund, 32, from India, photographed the couple for six days to capture the perfect moment

Black panthers are melanistic, which causes the color of their coat and skin. The phenomenon can occur in a number of species, including the genus 'Panthera', including leopards and jaguars. Pictured: Saaya takes a swig of water from a stream

Black panthers are melanistic, which causes the color of their coat and skin. The phenomenon can occur in a number of species, including the genus 'Panthera', including leopards and jaguars. Pictured: Saaya takes a swig of water from a stream

Indian leopards are listed as a vulnerable species after habitat loss and poaching. Between 12,000 and 14,000 live in India. Pictured: 12-year-old Cleopatra looks at a tree from her vantage point

Indian leopards are listed as a vulnerable species after habitat loss and poaching. Between 12,000 and 14,000 live in India. Pictured: 12-year-old Cleopatra looks at a tree from her vantage point

Black panthers are melanistic, which causes the color of their coat and skin. The phenomenon can occur in a number of species, including the genus ‘Panthera’, including leopards and the larger member of the Panthera family – jaguars. Pictured left: Saaya takes a sip of water from a stream. Indian leopards are listed as a vulnerable species after habitat loss and poaching. Between 12,000 and 14,000 live in India. Pictured right: 12-year-old Cleopatra watches from her vantage point in a tree

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