Amur Leopard | Endangered Species Series
Amur Leopard (Panthera pardus orientalis)
Status: CRITICALLY ENDANGERED
Population: around 60 individuals
Body Length: up to 5 feet
Weight: 70 - 105lbs
Lifespan: 10 - 15 years
Habitat: temperate, broadleaf, and mixed forests
Diet: roe and sika deer, hares, badgers, mice, and other small animals
The amur leopard, the world's rarest cat, is found in the northern-most part of the species' range, Far East Russia. This rare species has adapted to life in the temperate forests. Most other leopard species are found in the savannahs of Africa. Similar to other leopard species, the amur leopard can run at speeds up to 37 miles per hour, leap to distances of 19 feet horizontally and 10 feet vertically.
Amur leopards are nimble-footed and strong creatures. They have longer legs than other leopards, allowing them to walk more easily through the snow. After a successful hunt, they will hide their kill to avoid having the remains taken by other predators.
They are solitary creatures. Females keep home ranges of 15 - 38 square miles and males may maintain a range of up to 155 square miles. Aside from mating and disputes over territory, they rarely interact with one another. The males have been known to stay with the female after mating and even stay to help raise the offspring. Males may even fight one another for a chance to mate with one female. Mating can occur year round and the average litter is 2 to 3 cubs.
The amur leopard is a critically endangered species, threatened by poachers, habitat loss, and an insufficient supply of prey animals. The forests that they live in are surrounded by villages and agriculture, making their habitat very accessible to poachers who desire their beautiful spotted fur as trophies and farmers see them as a nuisance, competing for the same prey. The greatest threat to their habitat is human-ignited fires to turn forests into grasslands for farming. The animals the amur leopard preys on are also being affected by logging and loss of habitat, directly affecting the number of leopards capable of living in specific tracks of land.
Sources: World Wildlife Fund, Wildlife Conservation Society
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