TheAmur leopardtops the list of critically endangeredwildlife. Known variously as Russian Leopard, Far East Leopard, theManchurian Leopard, it is found along the border ofRussiaandChinaand 2018 population studies say its number in the wild has dwindled to 100.
The Amur leopard or the Panthera pardus orientalis can be distinguished by its thicker fur which grows to 3 inches in winter and its pale yellowish pelt—better camouflage and warmth in the snow, perhaps. It is the only subspecies that survives in snowy environs.
Hunted for its pelt, and slowly being deprived of its habitat while competing with the Amur tigers for prey, the Amur leopard is a nocturnal hunter living on Sika deer, rodents and badgers. It gets its name from the Amur river which flows along Russia’s border with China. The leopards live on both sides of the banks.
Apart from the 100 in the wild, there are about 200 in captivity, mostly in zoos in Europe, North America and the former Soviet Union. Conservation plans include increasing the current population as well as developing a captive breeding centre to establish a second, separate population.
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