If the species survives it will be a triumph for unified action by volunteers and then state to preserve the animals.The Amur leopard is listed by WWF as the ‘most endangered cat anywhere in the planet’ with just about 60 left in the wild. Picture: Land of Leopard
Amur leopards now number more than 100 for first time in decades, say experts.
The cats remain highly endangered in eastern Russia but the latest population estimates for the species are encouraging. Twenty years ago there were a mere 30 Amur leopards living in the wild, and scientists feared they were on the brink of extinction. But now there are celebrations in the Land of the Leopard Nature Reserve, as results of the 2017 monitoring showed a significant growth in number of predators. It is now believed there are 84 adult Amur leopards in the wild. In addition, there are seven adolescent big cats and 12 cubs.
In addition, there are seven adolescent big cats and 12 cubs. Pictures: Land of Leopard
This takes the total to 103. The images from some 400 automatic cameras have been used to garner the details on the species’ climb back from oblivion. Reserve experts said this was ‘the most important news of the year’. The Amur Leopard is the world’s rarest big cat. In Soviet times it was hunted almost to extinction. If the species survives it will be a triumph for unified action by volunteers and the state to preserve the animals.
Here’s hoping for the next hundreds, but meanwhile please enjoy these great pictures of the comeback cats. Pictures: Land of Leopard
New curbs on poaching and dedicated territory where the animals are actively protected – all backed by new laws – have made a critical difference to hopes for the leopards’ survival. When numbers sank to 30 around the turn of the millennium, experts feared the population was too low to breed their way back. Today’s news is the most hopeful in many years for the sleek species, and proof that concerted action can work to recover a seemingly lost wild species.
There are more Amur – or Siberian – leopards in zoos but the loss of the animals in the wild, capable of surviving in their natural surroundings, would be a catastrophe which there are now real hopes to avoid. Here’s hoping for the next hundreds, but meanwhile please enjoy these great pictures of the comeback cats.