About the Amur leopard
The Amur leopard
Panthera pardus orientalis
The entire world population of the Amur leopard is about 40 - 50 species, the majority of these (around 30-40) live in Primorye region in Russia. The remaining species live in the provinces of Jilin and Heilongjiang in China. In South Korea, the leopard was seen for the last time in 1969.
In the Red Book of the Russian Federation Amur leopard belongs to category I, as extremely rare, endangered subspecies with an extremely limited areal, with the majority of the population within Russia. Amur leopard is also included in the Red Book of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and in Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, Endangered Species (CITES ). Hunting Amur leopard is banned since 1956. In Primorye, about half of the Amur leopard habitat is in the National Park "Land of the Leopard" which was created in 2012.
Habitat countries - Russia, China.
Habitat of the Amur leopard - the most Northern subspecies of leopard, stretches just north of the 45th parallel. Currently, the Amur leopard can only be found in Southwest Primorye (Russia).
Typical for the Amur leopard habitat is in coniferous and deciduous forests of Manchu type. These cats prefer areas with rugged, steep hills, rocky outcrops and watersheds.
Male: length - up to 136cm; tail – 90cm, weight- up to 60kg
Female: 112 cm; tail – 73cm; weight – up to 53kg
This remarkably beautiful cat has an elegant, slim body, round head, long tail and slender, very strong legs.
In the summer the coat does not exceed 2.5 cm and in winter becomes more lush, thick and long, reaching 5-7 cm. Winter coloring varies from light yellow to rusty-reddish and yellowish-red with a golden hue. In summer it becomes more vivid. Scattered throughout the body clearly defined black solid rings of spots or individual spots, give the skin of the Amur leopard special, unique coloring.
Eyes are yellow, pupil vertically oval, becoming round in the dark, claws dark chocolate with white ends, very mobile and retractable in a special "scabbard" not to get blunt from walking.
Behavior and lifestyle:
Amur leopard leads mainly crepuscular lifestyle. Usually goes on the hunt for an hour or two before sunset and hunts the first half of the night, though sometimes hunts in the afternoon, especially on cloudy days and cold winter.
Leopard food consists mainly of ungulates: deer, young wild boar, spotted deer and red deer calves. In addition, the leopard eats hares, badgers, raccoon dogs, pheasants, grouse and a variety of insects.
Amur leopards reach sexual maturity at 2.5-3 years, with males slightly later than females. The breeding season usually begins in the second half of winter. Females arrange dens in stones, caves and under overhanging rocks. 3 months after the breeding season, 1 to 5 (usually 2-3) cubs are born. Kittens are born blind, covered with thick, fairly long hair. Skin speckled with small dark brown and black spots. Birth weight is around 500-700g, body length - about 15 cm. They begin to see clearly on 7 -9th day. When the kittens are about 2 weeks old- they start crawling on the nest, and at around two months the y go out of the den. At this time the female feeds them half-digested meat, then they begin to eat the prey brought by their mother. Female nurses kittens alone. Young animals are kept with their mother until her next breeding season, and when left – kittens don’t part with each other until the end of winter. The female can give birth every year, but mortality rate among young is very high.
In captivity live up to 20 years, 10-15 years in nature.
Individual territories of the Amur leopard are small - about 5-8 thousand hectares, and the cats themselves are strictly territorial. Each adult animal has its own area, which does not cross with territories of other individuals of the same sex.
The main threats for the Amur leopard are poaching, the destruction of its habitat due to logging, expanding the network of roads and railways, as well as wildfires, reducing ungulate population, prey of the Amur leopard and genetic depletion of a population due to breeding of closely related species.
Each leopard has a unique spotted pattern by which scientists distinguish individual species.