My endangered wildlife paintings are included in a special category to provide updated information about the protective support that is currently underway by major wildlife conservation partners.
The information about the Amur Leopard is from the official websites of worldwildlife.org (WWF – World Wildlife Fund) and awf.org (AWF – African Wildlife Foundation) who are protecting endangered wildlife. (Please see Artist’s Disclaimer at bottom.)
PROTECTING AMUR LEOPARDS
The Amur Leopard, a subspecies of leopards, is listed by WWF as Critically Endangered with a population of more than 84 individuals.
AWF and the IUCN “Red List of Threatened Species” list the leopard species as Vulnerable with a population that is decreasing. The primary threat to the leopard is human activity.
FACTS ABOUT LEOPARDS
WEIGHT: 37 to 143 pounds
SIZE: 5 to 7.5 feet length; 2 to 2.5 feet height
LIFE SPAN: 10 to 12 years on average in the wild; up to 23 years in captivity
9 recognized subspecies.
Carnivorous. Pound for pound, the leopard is the strongest climber of all the big cats. Their shoulder blades even have special attachment sites for stronger climbing muscles. They spend much of their time in trees even when stalking prey and for eating. Both lions and hyenas will take away a leopard’s food if they can. To prevent this, they will often store their kill high up in tree branches where it can feed in relative safety. They are cunning, opportunistic hunters. Their diet fluctuates with prey availability, which ranges from strong-scented carrion, fish, reptiles, and birds to mammals such as rodents, hares, warthogs, antelopes, and baboons.
They are predominantly nocturnal, solitary animals, but each individual has a home range that overlaps with its neighbors. Males have a larger range, and a single male’s range will often overlap with the range of several females. Ranges are marked with urine and claw marks.
Gestation: 2.5 months. A female typically gives birth to a litter of two or three cubs. She abandons her nomadic lifestyle until the cubs are large enough to accompany her. She keeps them hidden for the first eight weeks and moves them from one location to the next until they are old enough to start learning to hunt. They get their first taste of meat in six or seven weeks and stop suckling after about three months. The cubs continue to live with their mothers for about two years.
The Amur leopard is solitary. Nimble-footed and strong, it carries and hides unfinished kills so that they are not taken by other predators. It has been reported that some males stay with females after mating, and may even help with rearing the young. Several males sometimes follow and fight over a female. They live for 10-15 years, and in captivity up to 20 years. The Amur leopard is also known as the Far East leopard, the Manchurian leopard or the Korean leopard.
People usually think of leopards in the savannas of Africa but in the Russian Far East, a rare subspecies has adapted to life in the temperate forests that make up the northern-most part of the species’ range. Similar to other leopards, the Amur leopard can run at speeds of up to 37 miles per hour. This incredible animal has been reported to leap more than 19 feet horizontally and up to 10 feet vertically.
Leopards are native to more than 35 African countries. Desert and semi-desert regions, arid regions, savanna grasslands, mountainous environments, rainforests, and occasionally urban areas.
These big cats tend to favor rocky landscapes with dense bush and riverine forests, but they have also shown to be highly adaptable to many places in both warm and cold climates. They occur in a wide range of habitats; from deserts and semi-desert regions of southern Africa, to arid regions of North Africa, to savanna grasslands of East and southern Africa, to mountainous environments on Mt. Kenya, to the rainforests of West and Central Africa. They even live in some urban and suburban parts of sub-Saharan Africa.
WHY THEY MATTER
The Amur leopard is important ecologically, economically and culturally. Conservation of its habitat benefits other species, including Amur tigers and prey species like deer. With the right conservation efforts, we can bring them back and ensure long-term conservation of the region.
Title: Amur Leopard – Elusive Power
Reference photo for this artwork is licensed royalty-free from Shutterstock.