THE AMUR LEOPARD
Welcome to some facts on a very interesting animal. The Amur leopard is a leopard subspecies native to the Primorye region of southeastern Russia and the Jilin Province of northeast China. It is listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List.
The Amur Leopard is one of the rarest felines in the world. They are speedy creatures able to run up to 35 miles per hour, faster than Usain Bolt!
Amazing Facts About the Amur Leopard
- The Amur Leopard, also known as the Far East Leopard, the Manchurian Leopard or the Korean Leopard, inhabits the forests of a temperate region crossed by the Amur River, a natural boundary between China and Russia.
- This is the only leopard subspecies adapted to survive in extreme snowy winter climates as well as hot summers. You would struggle to see one in the wild as they are well camouflaged. They have thick, white or cream fur with large, widely spaced black spots called “rosettes” covering the head, back, tail and legs.
- In the wild, an Amur Leopard can live up for up to 15 years.
- The Amur Leopard is a solitary animal and is highly territorial. They do not tend to share territory with others, and individual Leopards claim between 19 and116 sq miles as its territory. That means a size of up to 56,144 football fields!
- Like other leopards, they are fast and nimble. They can run at speeds of up to 35 miles per hour and can leap up to 19 feet. That means in a race between Usain Bolt and an Amur Leopard, Bolt would be left in their dust as he clocks up to 28 miles per hour!
- The Amur Leopard rests during the day in cool caves or sheltered spots to conserve energy and prepare for the night time hunt just before sunset.
- They prey on deer and wild pigs, but also on badgers and hares. When feeling brave, they have been known to eat young black bears. If a leopard does not finish its kill, it may drag and hide the remains, sometimes in trees away from other predators that might fancy a nibble.
- To scrape meat off the bone of the prey, the Leopard has a rough tongue covered in tiny hooks called ‘denticles.
- Females give birth to litters of 1-4 cubs, but usually 2 or 3. Cubs are born with their eyes closed and only begin to open them on the 7th or 8th day. Cubs will stay with their mother for up to two years before braving the wild alone.
- This rare creature is on the brink of extinction with less than 70 left in the wild.
- The main threats to this beautiful animal are poaching for their fur and the hunting of their prey as well as habitat loss to farming development, the growth of cities and forest fires.
- There is still hope that this species can be saved from extinction. Effective conservation measures in a Russian National Park has resulted the Amur Leopard population almost doubling from only 30 in 2007 to 57 in 2015.
Clancy's comment: The word extinction was never used when I was a kid. Now, it is on most people's lips. Sad.