Ecology Project: Endangered Species

Shelby Tipling

What's the Problem?

Every animal has a role it plays in its environment. A “niche” if you will. Whether it is due to deforestation, poaching, being taken over by invasive species, competition, or natural disaster, endangered species have been affected by these aspects and we need to save them before they become extinct. Even, if one species died out, it would affect an entire food webs and other species.

The Amur Leopard is being poached for its beautiful, spotted fur. Agriculture and villages surround the forests where the leopards live. This make the forests very accessible for poachers to kill the leopards. Habitat destruction such as deforestation and natural disasters have also made this species decrease in population.

What Causes the Problem?

Loss of their forest habitat, insufficient prey and regular killings by farmers are the biggest threats facing Amur leopards. Logging, forest fires and the conversion of forest for agriculture are the main causes of habitat loss. And this habitat is not only important to the leopard but also to the leopard's prey, such as deer and wild boar, which are further depleted by poaching. As the wild prey reduces, the leopards may venture into deer farms in search of food; farmers can be quick to react and leopards have been shot by farmers protecting their livelihoods. We not only hunt and poach them but we also hunt and poach their prey such as the Roe and Sika deer, forcing them to hunt "domestic" deer which leads to more persecution.


What Are Some Future Effects?

There isn't any many things would happen that would drastically change the world. If the species would die out, the deer would start to overpopulate the area and might graze too much and ruin the agriculture. Since the leopards only fed on the weak, ill, or injured, the deer might even grow genetically stable to defend themselves and protect themselves better.


What Are Some Possible Solutions To the Problem?

Efforts are being made to prevent poaching and hunting, and to protect their food sources. Efforts are being made to reduce forest fires that destroy the leopards' forest ranges and supplementary food is being provided for deer in the harshest of winters. Wild boar, another of the Amur leopards' prey animals, are being vaccinated against disease. More of these healthy prey animals mean Amur leopards have a better chance of survival.



What Can An Individual Do To Help?

ALTA, the Amur Leopard and Tiger Alliance, is working hard to reduce these threats by funding appropriate conservation projects and educating and informing people about the importance of the Amur leopard and tiger. WWF, the World Wildlife Fund, is working with a number of partners to increase the small number of Amur leopards to at least 50 cats over the coming years. Farmers in Russia can always work on not just killing them when they come on their land. They are just trying to find food because poachers are killing off their food source. People can substantially reduce poaching of the Amur Leopard through strengthening law enforcement and habitat protection, improving data collection and nature protection legislation, educating the public, and engaging local communities in conservation efforts. There are still no laws that are preventing the poaching of these animals but strong efforts are being made to save this species.


Resources

"Leopard Near Extinction -- Only About 30 Remain."National Geographic News. n.d. n. page. Print. <http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/04/070419-leopards_2.html>.



"Population Monitoring." Amur Leopard and Tiger Alliance. n.d. n. page. Print. <http://www.altaconservation.org/projects/population-monitoring/>.


"The Endangered Project." Amur Leopard. n.d. n. page. Print. <http://theendangeredproject.wordpress.com/2013/10/16/the-amur-leopard/>.


"Forests the Size of Russia Could Be Restored." CNN Tech. n.d. n. page. Print. <http://www.cnn.com/2010/TECH/innovation/12/13/forest.restoration/>.


"The Amur Leopard Could Become Extinct." Worldwide Wildlife Fund. n.d. n. page. Print. <http://www.wwf.org.uk/adoption/35inthewild/>.


"Amur Leopard." Wildlife Extra. n.d. n. page. Print. <http://www.wildlifeextra.com/go/world/amur-leopard.html


"Amur Leopard Factfile." Amur Leopard and Tiger Alliance. n.d. n. page. Print. <http://www.altaconservation.org/amur-leopard/amur-leopard-factfile/>.


"Help Save the Last 30 Amur Leopards From Extinction."Global Giving. n.d. n. page. Print. <http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/amur-leopards-conservation/>.