Our Amur Leopards
The Amur leopard (Panthera pardus orientalis) is a leopard subspecies native to the Primorye region of southeastern Russia and Jilin Province of northeast China, and is classified as Critically Endangered since 1996 by IUCN. Only 14–20 adults and 5–6 cubs were counted in a census in 2007, with a total of 19–26 Amur leopards extant in the wild.
The Amur leopard is also known as the Far Eastern leopard.
Amur leopards differ from other subspecies by a thick coat of spot covered fur. They show the strongest and most consistent divergence in pattern. Leopards from the Amur river basin, the mountains of north-eastern China and the Korean peninsula have pale cream-colored coats, particularly in winter. Rosettes on the flanks are 5 cm × 5 cm (2.0 in × 2.0 in) and widely spaced, up to 2.5 cm (0.98 in), with thick, unbroken rings and darkened centers.
Their coat is fairly soft with long and dense hair. The winter coat varies from fairly light yellow to dense yellowish-red with a golden tinge or rusty-reddish-yellow. The summer pelage is brighter with more vivid coloration pattern. Compared with other leopard subspecies, they are rather small in size, with males bigger than females. Males measure from 107 to 136 cm (42 to 54 in) with a 82 to 90 cm (32 to 35 in) long tail, a shoulder height of 64 to 78 cm (25 to 31 in) and a weight of 32.2–48 kg (71–106 lb). Females weigh from 25–42.5 kg (55–94 lb).
The Amur leopard is the only leopard subspecies adapted to a cold snowy climate.
Amur leopards used to be found in northeast asia, probably in the south to Peking, and the Korean Peninsula. In the mid 20th century, their distribution in Russia was limited to the far south of the Ussuri region. The northern boundary commenced on the coast of the Sea of Japan at 44°N and ran south at a distance of 15–30 km (9.3–18.6 mi) from the coast to 43°10’N. There it turned steeply westward, north of the Suchan basin, then north to encompass the source of the Ussuri River and two right bank tributaries in the upper reaches of the Ussuri. There the boundary turned westward toward the bank of Khanka Lake. In the 1950s, leopards were observed 50 km (31 mi) north of Vladivostok and in Kedrovaya Pad Nature Reserve. The association of Amur leopards with mountains is fairly definite. They are confined more to places where wild sika deer live or where deer husbandry is practiced. In winter they keep to snow-free rocky slopes facing south
In the 1970s, the Russian population had fragmented into three separate, small populations. After the turn of the century, the only remaining population is that of southwest Primorye, where the population inhabits an area of approximately 3,000 km2 (1,200 sq mi) along the borders with China and North Korea.
Leopards cross between Russia, China and North Korea across the Tumen River despite a high and long wire fence marking the boundary. Ecological conditions along the border in the mountains are not yet monitored.
In China, Amur leopards were photographed by camera traps in Wangqing and Hunchun, east Jilin Province, China. The only official North Korean government webportal reported in 2009 that there were some leopards in Myohyangsan Nature Reserve located in Hyangsan County. It is likely the southernmost living group of Amur leopard
Amur leopards hunt a very wide variety of animals including roe deer, sika deer, badgers and hares.
Amur leopards normally hunt at night and need large territories to avoid competition for prey. They silently watch their prey and ambush them using a burst of energy reaching speeds of up to 35 miles per hour. They then carry and hide unfinished kills, sometimes up trees, so that they are not taken by other predator.
WHERE DO THEY LIVE?