Let’s know about the Arabian panther. One of the critically endangered species of leopard is the Arabian leopard . Its scientific name is Panthera pardus nimr and I have considered it a subspecies of the common leopard. Only 250 specimens of this adult panther survive from the confirmed subpopulation. These populations are isolated from each other, so it can be even more dangerous when it comes to extinction.
In this article, we are going to tell you about the characteristics, habitat, diet, breeding and threats of the Arabian leopard.
Features of the Arabian Leopard
Its name comes from the fact that it is found in the mountains of northern Saudi Arabia. These leopards disappearing from 153 areas have faced severe regression. It is one of the smallest leopards, but it is the largest wild cat in Arabia. Its length is 1.3 m. The male weighs more than the female, about 30 kg, while the female weighs only 20 kg.
These animals cannot be found in open deserts, but live in high mountains. It is in these areas that they can find their prey. Traditional prey items of the Arabian leopard include mountain gazelle, Nubian ibex, Cape hare and Cape hyrax. Many of the prey of this cat are in danger of extinction in good decline. Many of them have become extinct due to intensive hunting and habitat degradation. One of the activities that most affects these species is overfishing.
All these reasons have forced these leopards to eat domestic animals as well. This acquired behavior due to the disappearance of natural prey has led the Arabian leopard to direct contact and conflict with humans. These animals usually hunt at dawn and dusk and are more active at night. Mainly they do this because of the heat as they prefer to take shelter during the day in shady areas. In these areas they take the opportunity to observe and monitor everything around them.
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Each adult has its own territory and must defend it aggressively against other leopards of the same sex. However, within the same territory of one male, several females may overlap. These territories are usually large because they live in arid areas and require a large space to find food. These are the main reasons why some extant populations of the Arabian leopard remain isolated from each other. The population of these animals has never been very high because a very large population would be unsustainable.
Where does the Arabian leopard live?
They are solitary animals that only come together during the breeding season. The final population lives in the desert areas of the Arabian Peninsula and Israel. There are only 20 specimens from its population and is found in the Negev Desert in Israel.
Potential population sizes in Saudi Arabia are estimated to be between 60 and 425 individuals, mainly located in the western Sarawat and Hejaz mountains. The geographic distribution area is not well known. It is known that this panther was widespread throughout the Arabian Peninsula until the late 1960s. Most of the population is spread along the semi-arid mountains at altitudes between 600 and 2400 m. It prefers to occupy high mountain areas with steep slopes that may provide security points and viewpoints to view its prey. In this way, they manage to have enough food and water to survive.
These animals are quite solitary and only come together for about 5 days during the breeding season. After gestation, which usually lasts about 100 days, usually 1 to 4 small pups develop. This womb takes place in a protected area such as a cave, an area hidden between rocks. Females usually frequently change the location of the young to reduce the risk of being discovered. After about 10 days, the eyes of the chicks open and they themselves immediately start waiting for the environment. However, these animals take us far beyond Bill’s safety zone.
They start coming out of the burrow from the first month of age. The young are weaned at three months, although they remain with their mother for up to two years. During this time they are in charge of learning everything they need for hunting and survival skills. We can differentiate African and Asian relatives by their colour.
Most of the studies that exist on these cats are due to their need for conservation.
Why is the Arabian leopard endangered?
One of the main reasons why the Arabian leopard is in danger of extinction is the destruction of their habitats . It should be kept in mind that the main most frequent reason why species start to decline is because they have no habitat to live in where they can survive. The environmental conditions of habitats deteriorate due to various human activities. Furthermore, poaching is also one of the main reasons why the species reduces its specimen numbers.
It is to be expected that animals that take many years to become adults and fend for themselves cannot match the rate at which humans are able to hunt them. Another reason for the decrease in the number of Arabian leopards is that the number of its prey is also decreasing. With less wild prey, they are forced to hunt livestock. This causes ranchers to chase and kill these cats for attacking cattle.
It is ironic to see how humans kill leopards because they attack cattle, and they themselves are the reason leopards are forced to attack them.