Amur Leopard

Panthera pardus orientalis

 

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Quick Facts

Height: 18 to 31 inches
Weight: Males: 60 to 165 pounds; females: 50 to 95 pounds
Distribution: Primorye, southwestern region of Russian (IUCN indicates possible extinction in China and on Korean Peninsula)
Habitat: Temperate forest with cold winters and hot summers
Wild Diet: Small mammals, musk deer, sika deer, roe deer; occasionally wild boar and elk; some birds and invertebrates, as well as domestic livestock
Zoo Diet: Nebraska meat products, pork, bones, chunk horse meat, liver, and small carcasses

Valley Cats

Amur leopards have keen hearing and vision and a well-developed sense of smell. Since they are nocturnal (active at night), their eyes have adapted to reflect back light in a way that produces a better image in low light. This enables them to see approximately six times better than a human can in the same light. Big cats such as Amur leopards also have very developed binocular vision (with both eyes working together at the same time), which gives them great depth perception.  Amur leopards are solitary. Although males' range may overlap with the ranges of several females, they are territorial and defend a restricted area against other males.

Description

Amur leopards are sexually dimorphic (with two distinct gender forms). Males are slightly larger than females. Their long, thick fur is light in the winter and reddish-yellow in the summer. Large, dark spots form rosettes on their shoulders, legs, back, sides, and haunches, while their head, throat, and chest have small black spots. Meanwhile, their belly is whitish, with large black blotches.Their legs are somewhat longer than other leopard subspecies. Thick fur is distinctive of this species as well. These are adaptations to cold, snowy winters.

Status in the Wild

Amur leopards are very rare, and their population trend is decreasing. Their entire estimated range is only 965 square miles. Threats to Amur leopards include poaching; retribution hunting; loss of habitat from fire, logging, and human settlement; loss of prey; and loss of genetic diversity. The most recent census results estimate about 40 Amur leopards left in the wild.

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