The Amur Leopard
The Amur Leopard- Endangered
Though they are the most critically endangered of all the big cats, not many people have even heard of the Amur Leopard.
There are only an estimated 30-35 of these gorgeous leopards living today in the wild.
They are beautiful animals that deserve to survive.
In this lens, you will learn about the Amur Leopard, share in this glimpse of an animal that will hopefully survive this threat of extinction.
It makes me sad to share with you that the above Amur Leopard (Photo by me, Linda Hoxie) is no longer with us. Her name was Nadia and she was a beautiful Amur Leopard housed at the Boise Zoo. She became very ill and they were not able to save her. Another loss of such an endangered species.
This page is dedicated to the beautiful Nadia!
What does the Amur Leopard look like - Physical characteristics of the Amur Leopard
The Amur Leopard is beautiful, with a pale cream coat, that is even lighter in the winter months, that is covered with rosettes that are far apart. They are think dark rings, black in color with solid circles in the center.
Well judge for yourself, are they not beautiful cats?
The length of the coat varies between one inch (2.5 centimeters) in the warm summer months to three inches (7.5 centimeters) in the cold winter months.
The males on the average weigh in between 70-105 lbs (32-48 kg), exceptionally large males can weight anywhere from 132-165 lbs (60-75 kg).
The females are smaller than the males at 55-94 lbs (25-43 kg).
Amur Leopard "Almost Extinct"- Big Cat TV
Where is their habitat
The Amur Leopards Habitat
The Amur leopard's past range extended throughout northeastern ("Manchurian") China, the southern part of Primorsky Krai in Russia and the Korean Peninsula.
During the 20th century, their range shrank dramatically. It is believed this is due to loss of their habitat, which is the temperate forests and to hunting.
Today, the Amur Leopard is critically endangered with only 27 to 35 cats remaining in Southwest Primorye.
Amur leopard crossing tree in nature reserve
Amur leopard crossing tree in nature reserve Kedrovaya Pad (Yury Shibnev)
(Above Photo used with permission from ALTA Amur Leopard Conservation)
There are probably up to 10 animals scattered throughout the Chinese Jilin and Heilongjiang Provinces, with the majority of animals concentrated near the Russian border.
The Amur leopard probably went extinct in the wild in South Korea in the late 1960s, although some recent, unconfirmed reports suggest that a few leopards may remain in and around the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea.
Amur Leopard Conservation
Conservation of the Amur leopard -probably the rarest big cat on earth- by the Amur Leopard and Tiger Alliance (ALTA). View 10 minute video at www.amur-leopard.org
What do they eat
The primary diet of an Amur Leopard
The Amur Leopards are carnivores and therefore their diet consists mainly of meat.
Amur leopard After a meal
In the wild they feed on Roe deer, wild boar, sika deer, musk deer, badgers and hares
In the zoos they are fed a carnivore diet consisting of meat, bones, vitamins, and enrichment treats.
Below video is of an Amur Leopard eyeing some goats but he just can't reach them.
Lifespan and Reproduction of the Amur Leopard
Amur Leopard Cubs and how they come to exist
The average lifespan of a Amur Leopard in the wild is ten to fifteen years, in captivity up to 23 years.
The cats reach their sexual maturity at three years of age.
The breeding season in in the late winter months, usually around January or February. The gestation period for the mother is 90-105 days. So their cubs are usually born April through June.
Amur leopard cub
Amur leopard cub (Yury Shibnev)
(Photo used with permission from ALTA Amur Leopard Conservation)
They have two to four cubs in their litters with an average of two.
The Amur Leopard cubs open their eyes after ten days and are weaned within three months. The stay with their mother until they are around eighteen months to two years in age.
What do they do?
The behaviors of the Amur Leopard
The Amur Leopards once fully grown are solitary creatures.
They, much like any big cat, well like any cat period, they mark their territory with urine.
They hunt their prey swiftly, usually able to take it down with a few strides and a leap. They eat by themselves and will hide larger kills and return to finish them later.
Amur leopard at London Zoo
Amur leopard are great climbers
The Amur leopard is a great climber, they spend a lot of their time in the trees. So the temperate forest is very important to them.
They are also strong swimmers, and do not hesitate to enter the water.
They can leap twenty feet across and ten feet high.
Their territories are large, thirty square miles they will travel to find food over a period of time.
Amur Leopard caught on a game cam - With permission of ALTA Amur Leopard Conservation websiteClick thumbnail to view full-size
AMUR LEOPARD "Almost Extinct"- Big Cat TV
What threatens the Amur Leopards existence? - Threats the Amur Leopard faces.
The Amur Leopard faces all of the following threats:
- Poaching of Amur leopards and their prey species, the deer they need to survive. The leopards are hunted for their fur, the deer for the meat.
Since 2002 nine skins or carcasses of the leopard were found in Russia, and two in China.
With the numbers of the animals only being thirty to thirty five animals, how long before these poachers wipe out their existence in the wild totally?
- Loss of forest habitat due to forest fires.
The local villagers start fires for many reason, the main reason it is said is to encourage the growth of ferns that are a very popular ingredient in Russian and Chinese dishes.
- Negative impacts of inbreeding.
Loss of genetic diversity in the small and isolated Amur leopard population may cause inbreeding depression (reduced numbers due to reduced reproduction and lifespan and increased vulnerability to diseases).
- Development projects.
Like so many endangered animals, the growth of the population on man, and the expansion of their industries so often intrude or destroy the habitat of the animals.
- Lack of political commitment to conservation.
The Amur Leopard, does not have the political support that it so desperately needs to be protected.
What kind of conservation efforts are in place today?
Conservation efforts to save the Amur Leopard.
What kind of conservation efforts are in place today? - Conservation efforts to save the Amur Leopard.
Photographer Linda Hoxie (Boise Zoo - Idaho) all rights reserved.
Photographer Linda Hoxie (Boise Zoo - Idaho) all rights reserved.
Significant progress in conserving Amur leopards and tigers has been made over the last ten years.
A coalition of 13 international and Russian NGOs have pooled resources by creating ALTA(the Amur Leopard and Tiger Alliance).
ALTA is an informal coalition of funding and implementing agencies working together for the conservation of Amur tigers and leopards. ALTA members have been working together for many years in developing, financing and implementing conservation projects in Russia and China.
The key implementing agencies in ALTA are WCS Russia and the Vladivostok-based Phoenix Fund,
with other partners involved in Russia to a lesser degree;
Those providing relevant funding;
and the Minnesota zoos.
ALTA's conservation approach is based on good science, thorough threat analysis and long-term commitment. Our projects are carefully monitored and evaluated. ALTA members co-operate closely with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Russian NGOs and authorities and local institutes of the Russian Academy of Science.
The European/Russian zoo breeding programme (EEP - European Endangered species Programme) for Amur leopards is coordinated jointly by ALTA partners ZSL and Moscow Zoo, and the North American programme (PMP - Population Management Programme) by ALTA partner Minnesota Zoo
How you can help?
So you would like to help save the Amur Leopard, but not sure how?
You can help the cause of the Amur Leopard in many different ways.
1. Donate money or time to the cause. You can visit any of the links provided above and they will tell you how you can donate money or time to help in the efforts to save the Amur Leopard.
2. Spread the word. Let's not let these animals dwindle away to extinction in the wild, just because no one really hears much about them. Help bring attention to their plight by spreading the word about them.
3. Help save the forest vital to their habitat. You can do this by supporting the people that are working to save their habitat in any way you can.
4. Support lobbying for improved conservation policies and regulations.
Don't let their Footprints fade away!
Amur Leopard Population Graph - Estimates from 2000 to 2007
Thank you for stopping by and learning about the beautiful Amur Leopard.
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Thanks for your support,