Amur Leopard

Panthera pardus orientalis


The Amur Leopard is a rare subspecies of leopard that lives in the temperate forests of China and Russia. They are mostly solitary animals and they can run up to 37 miles per hour and can leap very high, up to 19 feet horizontally and up to 10 feet vertically. They give birth in the late spring or early summer, and they can have up to 4 cubs at one time. Some of their common names include the Far East Leopard, the Manchurian Leopard, and the Korean Leopard. They were first described by Hermann Schlegel in 1857.

Status in the Wild

Human activities, like poaching, hunting, and farming, has killed off many of the Amur Leopards. As a result, they are currently critically endangered with only a small population of just over 60 individuals left in the wild.

Activities Effecting Extinction

Human activities have had a huge effect on the population of Amur Leopards. These include...

  • Poaching/hunting- For centuries, the Amur Leopard has been hunted down and poached for its beautiful, spotted skin and sold on the black market for hundreds of dollars. This is one of the greatest threats to the Amur Leopard. In 1999, a female and male Amur Leopard skin was recovered by an undercover investigation team in Barabash, Russia. They were being sold for 500 and 1000 dollars respectively.

  • Farming- Some farming methods affect the Amur Leopards populations as well. One of these methods farmers use is setting their fields on fire, burning them to the ground to make them more fertile. This kills not only the plants, but also the animals and wildlife living in these fields, including the Amur Leopard.

  • Competition- Amur leopards and Amur Tigers have had a rivalry for many decades. They both compete for territory as well as the scarce amounts of food, deer, in their habitat.

  • Inbreeding- Human activity is not the only problem this species has. Since their population sizes are so small, the Amur Leopard could be affected by inbreeding. Genetic mutations are more likely to occur and may or may not be harmful to the leopard.
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Preventing Extinction

The Amur Leopard is a predator in its habitat. If these cats were to go extinct, there would be an imbalance in the populations of its prey which in turn would affect the forest's and the ecosystem's balance as a whole.

There are many groups fighting to save the Amur Leopard from extinction. Among them is the Amur Leopard & Tiger Alliance. This alliance has many programs that educate, compensate loss of livestock, work against poaching, and control fires.

Many zoos throughout the world have Amur Leopards in captivity and are breeding and protecting them so to increase their populations.

As a result of these many efforts, the population of Amur Leopards has nearly doubled in size since 2007.


  • Amur Leopards." - WWF UK. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Feb. 2016.

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  • "Amur Leopard." Amur Leopard. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Feb. 2016.

  • "What Is Being Done to Save the Amur Leopard." What Is Being Done to Save the Amur Leopard. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Feb. 2016.

  • "Amur Leopard-World's Rarest Cat-Doubles in Population." World Wildlife Fund, 23 Feb. 2015. Web. 18 Feb. 2016.