Within leopards, the Amur leopard is one of the rarest subspecies that still exists on the planet. Appreciated for the deep golden color of its fur, it is an animal that is in danger of extinction.
How to meet the Amur leopard, where it lives, what it eats, how it reproduces and what causes its disappearance if nothing is done.
Characteristics of the Amur leopard
The Far Eastern panther, also known as the Korean panther, Manchurian panther or by its scientific name, Funtera pardus orientalis . It is the most endangered cat on the planet and also the strangest species of leopard that still exists today.
It measures approximately between 107 and 136 cm long, with a tail that measures 75 to 110 cm. They are smaller than other leopard species , however have longer legs and reach speeds of up to 55 kilometers per hour. Their weight generally depends on whether they are male (up to 75 kg) or female (up to 50 kg).
It has a coat between gold and orange, one of the most important distinguishing characteristics, and one that makes it highly prized. Furthermore, they hair is longer and thicker than that of other panthers. In summer, for example, their fur is about 2,5 cm with a more intense colour, but in winter this fur grows to 7 cm and fades to a cream tone. In addition, the spots of the Amur leopard are more distant and larger than those of other cats in this family.
The eyes are blue-green, although there are specimens that also have gray eyes.
They usually live alone, although some males live with several females. Their life expectancy in the wild is around 12–15 years, while in captivity this increases to around 20–22 years.
The Amur leopard was found many years ago in southeastern Russia, northwestern China, and the Korean Peninsula. However, because it is a critically endangered animal, all specimens currently in the wild are found in the Sikhote-Alin mountains in Siberia. Russia, although this cat has also been seen in areas of northwestern China and on the border between North Korea and South Korea.
However, according to data presented by “Land of the Leopard”, where the Amur leopard resides in Russia, there will be a total of 90 adult specimens by 2019. In fact, 40 would be females of childbearing age, and 21 would be offspring.
To avoid extinction, at least 100 free specimens would be needed, which is being achieved.
There are about 100–200 specimens in captivity, many of them within breeding programs or reintroduction to life in the wild.
Amur leopard feeding
A predator by nature, the way it has to catch its food is by sneaking up to within a few meters of its prey and pouncing on it. However, at mealtimes, they are one of those they prefer to climb trees so as not to be disturbed by others while they eat. More, being able to lift 3 times your body weight.
They hunt mostly in the early morning or evening, spending the rest of the day resting.
The Amur leopard is one of the cats with the greatest diversity when it comes to feeding as it does not focus only on medium-sized animals, such as deer, roe deer, etc., but also eats wild boar, badger, elephant Can hunt too. , squirrels, rodents, goats, rabbits… In fact, in its diet, especially when hungry, it is able to eat fish, insects, amphibians and birds.
It is common for them to develop scavenging behavior when food is scarce. It is capable of eating animals that are rotting, that have been discarded or even frozen.
Many people are unaware that this mammal is one of them which drinks less water. You don’t need to drink a lot of water to stay hydrated, since almost all of the water you consume comes from the food you eat.
Amur leopard breeding
Amur leopard breeding in captivity occurs between late spring and early summer, although wild breeding occurs during the rainy season, when there is more food. That is, during late January and early February.
Once both female and male reach sexual maturity (at two and a half or three years in the first case; a few months later in the second), the male mates with several females and may give birth to 1 to 4 pups (typically From) 2).
The female’s heat usually lasts about 7 days, during which time they attract the attention of the male with roars and very strong and intense odors, so that he can mate with her. For a few days, they feed and share life together, copulating several times, but once mating is over, the male usually leaves and the female cares for the young.
The gestation period of the Amur leopard is approximately 90–100 days. And the female spends that time looking for a burrow or hiding place where she can give birth.
Pups, at birth, weigh about 400–600 g and measure about 15–17 cm. They will be blind for about two weeks and have colored spots on them. Once they are one month old, they can leave the cave they were in and at 3 months, the female leaves them.
For up to two years, they may stay with their mothers, with whom they hunt and learn to survive, but beyond that age, males usually leave, while females may stay with mothers or seek males. I can be independent.
because it is in danger of extinction
The Amur leopard is a critically endangered species that is miraculously surviving itself. And that is that in the years 2000 and 2003 there were hardly fifty copies in Azadi, which meant that it was going towards extinction.
However, the number of specimens has gradually increased over the years, until January 2019 figures give it a chance to be saved: there are about 90 specimens in Russia. We must also consider those observed in China and Korea, which may total about 10 more samples.
Despite this, the Korean panther remains endangered due to the threats it faces , including, among the worst, poaching for their fur (highly prized by collectors and others) and bones (used in traditional Chinese medicine).
Another threat to these mammals is the lack of food, which causes them to leave their territory and become easy prey for other animals, as well as being too close to populated places that chase and kill them. put their lives at risk.
Invasion of its territory by humans, new roads, felling of trees or climate change are other factors that negatively affect the existence of this subspecies of leopard. And despite the fact that there are conservation measures in place to stop the decline, they are still not enough to lift the species out of the most critical level of extinction.
Read More –