The range of the Amur leopard previously encompassed the Amur River basin and the mountains of northeastern China and the Korean peninsula. Today, it survives only in one isolated population in the Russian Far East, although there may be a few individuals in the Jilin Province of northeast China.
Temperate woodlands and forests
Every leopard has a unique pattern of spots. The Amur leopard is adapted to the cool climate by having thick fur which grows up to 3 inches long in winter. For camouflage in the snow their coat is paler than other leopard subspecies. The Amur leopard’s rosettes are widely spaced and larger than those seen on other leopards. Their tongue has tiny rasps or hooks, called denticles, which are used to scrape the meat off of the bones of their prey.
Leopards are usually associated with grasslands of Africa and Asia, but the Amur subspecies is an exception. Like we said earlier, Amur leopards are adapted to cold climate, and thus, are found in the temperate, broadleaf, and mixed forests of the Russian Far East, which are characterized by harsh winters.
Females first breed at an age of 3-4 years. After a gestation period of around 12 weeks, cubs are born in litters of 1-4 individuals, with an average litter size of just over 2. The cubs stay with their mother for up to two years before becoming fully independent. Amur leopards in zoos show some evidence of breeding seasonality with a peak in births in late spring/early summer.
Their long, spotted coats keep the Amur leopards warm in the cold weather, and their long legs are an adaptation for walking through snow. They can reach speeds of 36 miles per hour for short distances and leap 19 feet horizontally and 10 feet vertically. These nocturnal, solitary cats are excellent climbers. In fact, they often drag their prey up into trees to protect it from other animals like the Amur tiger.
This is one of the most endangered cat species in the world, with fewer than 70 left in the wild. This is due to loss of habitat from logging and uncontrolled burns (80 percent of their habitat disappeared between 1970-1983), decline of prey species, and poaching and hunting for their pelts and bones (the bones are valued in traditional Asian medicine). The tiny population that survives today is under extreme risk of extinction; genetic variation is low in small populations and they are extremely vulnerable to any chance event such as an epidemic or large wild fire. Poaching remains a threat in Russia and annual wild fires rage through the area. In addition a variety of proposed economic development, including the building of an oil pipeline, threatens the last wilderness refuge of these big cats.
|Did YOU Know?|
|It is estimated that there are around 84 Amur leopards left in the wild!|
|Length:||6 to 7 feet|
|Average Lifespan:||10-15 years|
|Wild Diet:||Wild boar, deer, wild sheep, small mammals and birds|
This is an ssp animal
|CITES Status:||Appendix I|
|Where at the Zoo?||Asian Highlands|