A Cat that’s More Scarce than Diamonds

The Amur Leopard is also known as Far East Leopards or Manchurian Leopards. [Relax, it isn’t eaten, it inhabits the Manchurian region in China]
It’s currently found in Southeastern Russia and Northern China but, the species has been extirpated from the Korean countries. It is one of the rarest species of wild cats in the world!

Amur leopards have thick white or cream fur with large, widely spaced black spots called “rosettes”. Fur length varies from summer (0.7–0.9 in) to winter (2.8 in). They also have a bushy tail that keeps them warm during winters.

Amur leopards are fast, they can run at speeds of up to 60 km per hour [That’s faster than Usain Bolt] and can leap up to 19 ft (5.8 m) horizontally!

They are the only leopard subspecies adapted to survive in both extreme snowy winter and hot summer climates.

A survey in 2019 concluded that there are only about 86 of these majestic creatures left in the wild.
The main reason being human intervention and over exploitation. Basically it’s the same old story that, they have been hunted to the brink of extinction for their fur.
Hunting of prey species and habitat loss due to farming development, growth of cities and human induced forest fires are other major causes for the depletion in their population.

The small size of the population increases chances of inbreeding depression. The lack of genetic diversity in the population, puts the individuals at the risk of abnormalities that can impact their health, reproduction and eventually their survival.

Is the damage beyond repair?

The Amur Leopard and Tiger Alliance (ALTA) was set up to conserve the endangered cats of the Amur river basin. Initiatives have been taken to monitor populations and increase awareness about these now rare cats. Anti-poaching teams function and research into fire fighting techniques is also done to make sure that the cats are well protected.

Effective conservation measures in a Russian National Park had resulted in the Amur leopard population almost doubling from 30 in 2007 to 57 in 2015 and about 80 in 2019.

And then this happens…

After all the efforts taken to conserve the species, mere human carelessness causes it to get hit by a car and succumb to injuries.

On the whole, I think it’s fair to say that the final nail on their coffin hasn’t been nailed yet, I mean to say that there is some hope for the Amur leopards… Atleast they won’t go extinct in the near future…

Image credits: Pinterest

13 thoughts on “A Cat that’s More Scarce than Diamonds

  1. The picture of the dead amur leopard was so sad… if there’s one good thing that came from the lockdown, it’s that less animals are getting run over since there aren’t as many cars on the streets.

    Liked by 1 person

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