Fast Fact Attack: Endangered Species 14 – The Amur Leopard


Amur leopard 3

Taken by photographer Ben Williams, naturalencounters.co.uk

Description
The nocturnal and solitary Amur leopard (Panthera pardus orientalis) is one of the most beautiful creatures on the planet – well…perhaps that’s just my opinion – but this magnificent, ecologically important predator has been on the IUCN Red List as critically endangered since 1996. Shockingly, there are only 35 Amur leopards left in the wild.
They are fast and very nimble. They can reach speeds of up to 37 miles per hour and leap more than 19 feet horizontally and 10 feet vertically. And, not ones to share, they are very deft at hiding their prey up in the tress, away from other predators.
They breed in spring and early summer and produce litters of up to four cubs which are weaned at three months. They stay with their mothers until they are approaching two years of age.

Habitat
Temperate forests
Where
20-25 remain in  Russian and 7-12 in China
What they eat
Deer, wild boar, badger, raccoon dogs and hare.
Threats
Desultory logging, land conversion , forest fires and poaching. 
Status: Critically endangered
If these forest areas can be protected from unsustainable logging, rampant forest fires can be controlled and poaching brought under control, there is a chance the Amur leopard could be saved from extinction.

“Each species on our planet plays a role in the healthy functioning of natural ecosystems, on which humans depend”   William H. Schlesinger

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