The Amur Leopard, one of a kind, nearly Extinct!
Amur (Far Eastern,Korean,Mancurian) Leopard
Amur Leopard(Panthera pardus orientalis)
This beautiful animal is almost certainly the most endangered of all the Big cats in the wild today.
There only around 25-35 surviving animals. It has been on the Critically Endangered list since 1996.
The Amur Leopard is a subspecies that is native to the Primorye region of Russia. Sadly their range which was considerably larger and originally took in parts of China and North Korea has been very depleted and now covers only the far southeast of Russia and the border between China and North Korea.
And it is only due to massive efforts by conservationists that it still survives in the wild. There are around 200 in captivity, but numbers in the wild are frighteningly low.
This Leopard differs from its cousins in that it inhabits much colder places and therefore its characteristics are a little different.
It is a small animal, although it does have long legs which help it get around in the deep winter snow.
Its coat is thick and has a very strong patterning. in the winter it changes to a creamy light yellow or a dull reddish yellow.But once it has shed it winter coat you can see how brightly it is coloured and how vivid the patterning on it.
In weight the males, which are the bigger are 32-48 kg and the smaller female 25-43kg
They have large and powerful jaws and back teeth "carnassial" which are ideal for chewing meat.
They are of course a carnivore and their diet consists of sika deer, red deer, roe deer, wild boar and badgers and hares. They also have very rough tongues which they use to remove meat from bones. The leopard hunts at night and is very careful about not crossing into Tiger territory,and it is probably for this reason that its own territory is conservatively small. When hunting they can reach speeds of up to 35mph but this is for a short time only. Not a great deal is known about when breeding takes place but it is known that up to 6 babies can be born in a litter although the usual number
The leopards are sexually mature at 2-3 years of age and can continue breeding up to 15yrs old, with the young staying close to mother until they are sexually mature.
- Amur Leopards
This give more information about the Amur Leopard
Reasons for such low numbers.
I sometimes feel like I am repeating myself, but it seems to be the same old story time and again with these wild animals that are facing extinction in the wild.
Anyway , it is because of MAN that yet again another beautiful beast is in such poor shape numbers wise. Deforestation,major lack of habitat,hunting of its prey animal and even being hunted in retaliation for simply eating to live are amongst the reasons. There is also the continuing use of leopard body parts in traditional Chinese medicine and although they have been under protection since 1956 there is still poaching.
Yet again I hope that many people read this and it brings awareness to another member of the earths fragile ecology, and one that may simply disappear for good because of us.