Amur Leopard

Rarest and the most vibrantly colored leopard

The Amur Leopard (Panthera pardus orientalis or Panthera pardus amurensis) is possibly  the rarest subspecies of leopard. It is extremely close to extinction with estimates of between 25 to 34 known individuals remaining in the Sikhote-Alin mountains of southern Russia.

Of the 8 to 10 subspecies of leopard (there is no agreement on the exact number), the Amur leopard shows the strongest and most divergence in coat pattern.

The coat is typically pale-cream (especially in winter) and exhibits widely spaced rosettes with thick, unbroken rings and darkened centres. The length of the coat varies between 2.5cm in summer and about 7cm in winter making it well adapted to the harsh climate of regions in which it is found.
In some ways, it is reminiscent of the Snow leopard but unlike the snow leopard, the Armur leopard can growl and purr.

Its prey animals are mainly hares, roe and sika deer, badgers and smaller rodents.

Not only is it a good climber, it is also a strong swimmer.

However, it is how far and high they can jump that is astounding - some reports say that it can jump 6m (20ft) horizontally and 3m (10ft) vertically (not quite as far as a snow leopard though).  However it's still the equivalent of jumping completely and clearly over your average caravan.

Your chances of seeing one in the wild
The Amur leopard is listed as Endangered by the IUCN and is on CITES Appendix I for protection status.

The dramatic decline in the numbers of Amur leopards is blamed mainly on habitat destruction and the fur trade.

Russian plans for building an oil pipeline through the last remaining habitat of the Amur leopard were recently redirected to a safer route after pressure from ourselves and our partners.
 / ©: Vasily Solkin
Amur leopard (Panthera pardus orientalis).
© Vasily Solkin

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