AboutZoos, Since 2008


Amur leop­ard num­bers in the wild dou­bled since 2007

pub­lished 28 Feb­ru­ary 2015 | mod­i­fied 28 Feb­ru­ary 2015

Amur leopard barabashevski camera trapAt least 57 Amur leop­ards now exist in Russia’s Land of the Leop­ard National Park, up from just 30 cats counted in 2007, accord­ing to new cen­sus data announced last week. An addi­tional 812 leop­ards were counted in adja­cent areas of China, mean­ing the num­ber of Amur leop­ards, a rare sub­species con­sid­ered the world’s rarest wild cat, has more than dou­bled over the past seven years.

The cen­sus, taken with cam­era traps spread out over more than 360,000 hectares of pri­mary leop­ard habi­tat, col­lected around ten thou­sand pho­tographs that sci­en­tists used to iden­tify nearly 60 indi­vid­ual ani­mals. Indi­vid­u­als are deter­mined by dis­tinc­tive pat­terns of spots found on leop­ard fur. The cen­sus was car­ried out by the Land of the Leop­ard National Park jointly with the Far East­ern Branch of the Russ­ian Acad­emy of Sci­ences with the sup­port of The Amur Leop­ard Cen­ter and WWF-​Russia.

Despite still being on the brink of extinc­tion, the Amur leop­ard is show­ing encour­ag­ing signs of grad­ual recov­ery, demon­strat­ing that ded­i­cated con­ser­va­tion efforts do pay off
Car­los Drews, direc­tor WWF´s global species programme »

The col­lab­o­ra­tion between Rus­sia and China to pro­tect vast areas of suit­able leop­ard habi­tat is the next key step to pro­tect this species,” said Drews.

Land of the Leop­ard National Park, which includes all of the Amur leopard’s known breed­ing areas, was hailed as a life­line to the crit­i­cally endan­gered Amur leop­ard when estab­lished in 2012. The park is also home to the endan­gered Amur tiger.

Accord­ing to Yury Dar­man, head of WWF Rus­sia Amur Branch and a mem­ber of the Super­vi­sory Board of The Amur Leop­ards Cen­ter, “The national park became the main orga­ni­za­tional force for leop­ard pro­tec­tion and research.”

Great footage of Amur leop­ard taken from BBC’s Planet Earth series:

(Source: bqureshi21 YouTube channel)

Con­ser­va­tion­ists are work­ing toward mon­i­tor­ing leop­ard pop­u­la­tions across the bor­der in neigh­bour­ing Chi­nese nature reserves. One of the highly antic­i­pated next steps would be the estab­lish­ment of a Sino-​Russian trans­bound­ary nature reserve.

(Source: WWF press release, 23.02.2015)

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Tiger range countries map

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

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