It is believed than less than 20 adult Amur leopards exist in the world today. Between them they may have as few as 5 cubs. The leopards are already extinct in China and Korea.
The numbers of Amur leopards are so low that inbreeding presents itself as an on-going challenge to keeping the species alive. The loss of generic diversity means that the surviving Amur leopards are prone to diseases. The slump in breeding and the low number of cubs can also be attributed to in-breeding issues.
The male adult normally weighs between 32 and 48 kgs although large males can weigh up to 75 kg. Females are smaller and usually weigh between 25 and 43 kg. The leopards traditionally hunt roe and sika deep, badgers and hares.
The animal’s killer, if caught, faces a two year prison sentence and up to US $15,100 in fines (RUB 500,000).
In Pure Spirit
Do you think the Russian authorities should be doing more to protect the leopards? Are the fine and threat of jail enough to prevent poaching?
Do you think we’ll have any Amur leopards left by 2015?