Amur Leopard

amur leopards

Conservation Status: Critically Endangered

Scientific Name: Panthera pardus orientalis

The Amur leopard. also known as the Far Eastern leopard, is a big cat that inhabits parts of southeastern Russia (Primorye Krai) and northeastern China (Jilin and Heilongjiang). A few leopards have also been reported in northern Korea. The Amur leopard lives farther north than any other leopard. It is the only leopard subspecies that has adapted to a cold climate. Its fur is thick, soft and covered in spots. Overall the coat has a pale color, which helps the cat hide in the snow.

The cat is listed as CRITICALLY ENDANGERED on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Currently, there are less than 50 Amur leopards still living in the wild. The Amur leopard is one of the most endangered wild cats on the planet.

Additional Reading:
Amur leopard conservation
Amur leopard research

About the Amur Leopard

amur leopard in the grass

Physical Appearance

amur leopard in basinAmur leopards are relatively small in size.  Males range from 42 to 54 inches, with a tail length of 32 to 35 inches. They weigh between 70 and 100 lbs.

Females are smaller, weighing between 50 and 95 lbs. The cats coat ranges in color from various shades of yellow to gold and is covered in spots.

The leopard’s fur is usually much lighter during the winter months.

Territory

The leopards maintain individual territories approximately 20 to 120 miles in size, usually in a river basin.

Lifespan

Wild Amur leopards generally live between 10 to 15 years. Captive leopards can live as long as 20 years.

Hunting & Prey

Amur Leopard prey consists of musk deer, roe deer, moose, wild pig, Manchurian wapiti (elk), hare, badger, fowl, mice and at times, young black bears. The leopard usually hunts at night.

Reproduction

Female leopards start breeding between 3 – 4 years or age. They have between one to four cubs during the spring or early summer. Most recently, the average size of a litter has only been two cats.  The young cats leave their mothers within 1 to 1 ½ years.

Conservation

The serious decline of the Amur leopard population is the result of poaching, deforestation and loss of habitat due to fires.  Read more about Amur leopard conservation.

Amur Leopard Facts

  • The Amur leopard is critically endangered, with less than 30 cats still living in the wild.
  • The leopard is known for its extremely thick fur.
  • One of the main threats to the leopard’s survival is poaching.
  • Another key conservation concern is inbreeding of the remaining cats.
  • The zoo population of Amur leopards is believed to be 176.

Amur Leopard Videos

You can also watch an Amur leopard livecam set up by the Tallinn Zoo in Estonia here.

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