By KALANI CHEN-HAYES, age 10
Amur leopards are nocturnal and solitary carnivores. They prefer to be by themselves rather than in a pack. These beauties have thick yellowish coats covered in widely spread rosettes (spots) with thick black borders. Their long legs help them to walk in the snow. They can live up to 15 years in the wild and 20 years in captivity, but have been classified as critically endangered since 1996 by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. In fact, Amur leopards are the world’s most endangered cats since there are fewer than 35 of them left in the wild. They once lived throughout parts of China, Korea and Russia, but now they can only be found in a small part of northern Russia near the Chinese border. Conservationists are working to save them, but their survival is threatened by hunters who kill them for their fur, as well as the loss of habitat due to land development by humans.
DID YOU KNOW?
- Male Amur leopards weigh between 70 and 106 pounds, and females weigh between 53 and 95 pounds.
- They are 3.5 to 4.5 feet long and 1.5 to 2.5 feet tall at the shoulders, and their tails are about 2.5 to 3 feet long.
- Their litters are small, usually only two or three cubs.
- They hunt different types of deer, as well as smaller animals like badgers, hares and mice.