AboutZoos, Since 2008


First Cam­era Trap Pho­tos of rare Amur Leop­ard in China

pub­lished 26 April 2012 | mod­i­fied 26 April 2012

The first-​known cam­era trap pho­tos of an Amur leop­ard in China have recently been taken by pro­tected area staff in Hunchun Amur Tiger National Nature Reserve in Jilin Province accord­ing to the Wildlife Con­ser­va­tion Society.

Cou­pled with Jilin Province’s recent announce­ment of a sur­vey esti­mat­ing 811 leop­ards across that north­ern province, the pho­tographs sug­gest that leop­ards may be return­ing to China.

The name­sake cats of the Hunchun Amur Tiger National Nature Reserve are rare enough — fewer than 20 wild Amur tigers are thought to exist in China. But even rarer are the reserve’s Amur leop­ards. Esti­mates of the total num­ber of these crit­i­cally endan­gered spot­ted cats have hov­ered around 30 since the mid-​1970s.

amur leopard camera trap

But new evi­dence sug­gests that the leop­ards may be mak­ing a small step towards recov­ery. Hunchun Reserve staff have taken the first-​known cam­era trap pho­tos of an Amur leop­ard in China. The cats were spot­ted in the north­ern Jilin Province, where a recent sur­vey esti­mated that 811 leop­ards remained.

Begin­ning last month, the Hunchun Reserve’s staff set up 16 cam­era traps in areas where tiger or leop­ard tracks were found dur­ing win­ter sur­veys. A dozen of the cam­era traps were donated by WCS, which has been active for over a decade sup­port­ing Russian-​Chinese trans­bound­ary con­ser­va­tion of Amur tigers and leop­ards. The remote cam­eras also snapped sev­eral images of tigers roam­ing the woods.

Most of the remain­ing Amur leop­ards live across the bor­der in Rus­sia, where a col­lab­o­ra­tive research team from WCS, WWF, the Russ­ian Acad­emy of Sci­ences Insti­tute of Biol­ogy and Soils, and the Insti­tute for Sus­tain­able Use of Nat­ural Resources pho­tographed a total of 29 leop­ards last win­ter in a por­tion of the newly cre­ated Land of the Leop­ard National Park. These com­bined Russ­ian and Chi­nese results sug­gest that leop­ard num­bers may be ris­ing to 40 or more.

The above news item is reprinted from mate­ri­als avail­able at Wildlife Con­ser­va­tion Soci­ety and News­Wise. Orig­i­nal text may be edited for con­tent and length.

(Source: WCS, 25.04.2012; News­Wise, 25.04.2012)

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Tiger range countries map

Tiger map” (CC BY 2.5) by Sander­son et al., 2006.

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