Less than 60 individuals remain
1-1.36 metres in length
60-74 centimetres in height
25 to 48 kilograms
Russia and China
The Amur Leopard has a range of around 5,000 square kilometres with the main and last viable population being found in a small area of the province of Primorsky Krai in Russia, which is located between Vladivostok and the Chinese border.
It is estimated that this population has around 50 to 57 individuals which accounts for most of the remaining population.
It is believed that a further 7 to 12 animals remain scattered throughout China. It is believed that animals will cross the borders between Russia, China & North Korea via the Tumen River.
Amur Leopards have a thick coat of fur which is covered in spots. Their coats have the strongest patterns throughout all leopard species. The coat’s spots are of a pale, cream colour which is most strong during the winter, while the coat known to have a range from dense yellowish-red with a golden tinge to rusty-reddish-yellow. The coat consists of soft, but dense hair which is around 20-25 millimetres in length in the summer while reaching 70 millimetres in the winter.
- Amur Leopards have long limbs which are well adapted to walking through deep snow
- Amur Leopards start hunting just before sunset
- They spend their days resting and hiding in caves or dense thickets
- The species is mostly solitary
- Amur Leopards are territorial, and generally are located in a river basin. Their territory ranges from 30 to 130 square kilometres
- Are known to use the same routes, rest areas and hunting trails for many years
- Amur Leopards can run up to 60 kilometres an hour and jump 3 metres high
- The species breeds from 2 years up until 15 years of age
- Young are not able to see for the first 7 days
- Cubs stay with their mother for up to 2 years
- Breeding occurs in spring and early summer
Amur Leopards are top predators which means they play a crucial role in maintaining a healthy balance of species within their habitat. This in turn influences the condition of the forest and overall ecosystem – which supplies both nature and people with food, freshwater and many other resources.
The Amur Leopards food sources includes:
- Roe & Sika Deer
- Musk Deer
- Wild Pig
The perfect habitat for the Amur Leopard is a temperate forest, which are found between tropical and polar regions. The temperate forests of the Russian Far East have long, cold winters and relatively mild summers. Snow can cover the ground for over half the year. The forest needs to be able to support a large enough population of prey animals to support the leopards.
The threat which face the Amur Leopard include:
- Poaching – both poaching of the leopards as well as their prey. Poaching of the leopards mostly happens by local villagers in Russia
- Encroachment – civilisation and roads disturbing the animals territory
- Forest Fires – it is believed that 20% of the habitat burns yearly, with 46% burned at least once every six years. These fires are often caused by humans, farmers and people with other interests. These fires cause grasslands to replace the forests which reduces the leopards habitat
- Inbreeding – there is known to only be limited reproducing animals left which leads to a limited gene pool
- Tigers will eliminate leopards if prey numbers are low. This is more prevalent in the winter months
The Amur Leopard and Tiger Alliance (ALTA) is an initiative of Russian and western conservation organisations to conserve the Amur leopard and the Amur tiger. ALTA operates across Northeast Asia under the guiding principle that only co-operative, co-ordinated conservation actions from all interested parties can save these endangered species from extinction. ALTA works in close co-operation with local, regional, and federal governmental and non-governmental organisations to protect the region’s biological wealth through conservation, sustainable development and local community involvement.
ALTLA also has
- four anti-poaching teams with a total of 15 members in the Amur leopard range
- monitoring of the Amur leopard population through snow track counts and camera trap counts
- monitoring and analysis of the impact of fires on Amur leopard habitat and the effectiveness of fire-fighting
- support for hunting leases and ungulate recovery program