Amur Leopard | Top 10 Facts
The Amur leopard is a unique specie of leopard that lives in the region of Amur-Heilong, the Amur leopard is the only species of Leopards living in the region of Amur.
One of the top facts about the Amur leopard is that they are on the list of critically endangered species of animals in the world; these leopards are commonly found on the Amur Heilong landscape. In this article, I will be writing down everything about the Amur species of leopard.
All possible information about the species will be listed here so that after reading this article there will be no need of looking for information elsewhere.
Top 10 Facts About The Amur Leopard
It may be surprising to know that Amur leopards are the most beautiful of all species and subspecies of leopards in the world and this is also the main reason why they are being threatened by extinction as their skin is worth many bucks.
These species are also known as Far Eastern Leopard (Panthera pardus Orientalis) and are adapted to living in the temperate forests of Amur at altitudes of 2000 – 3900 feet, these big cats have been on the list of critically endangered species since the year 1996, by 2007 only 19-26 of this specie were left in the wild according to the report from IUCN.
Amur leopard can be found only in the temperate forests located in the region of Amur-Heilong; which spans the areas of North-Eastern China and the Far East of Russia. The Amur-Heilong has one of the most biologically diverse temperate forests in the world. This species inhabits about 5000-kilometer square area of land in the forest of Amur-Heilong.
As of 2019 and 2020, the population of Amur leopards left in the wild was 50 – 70 individuals. Currently now in 2021, there are about 90 adults left in the wild courtesy of serious conservation efforts of private and public wildlife organizations to help bring the population of the species back to normal.
Reasons Why Amur Leopard Is Endangered
- The main reason why Amur leopard is endangered is because of the fact that they are being poached(hunted) by humans; they became more threatened by this factor as humans began to invent and use more sophisticated and deadly weapons in hunting. Poachers kill them because of their exceptionally beautiful skin which is prized by the locals and foreigners alike.
- Reduction in the number of prey in their habitat is also one of the leading factors making them become critically endangered.
- Amur leopard has lost a great part of its natural habitat due to encroachment by man as deforestation is on the increase as more and more industrial and residential structures spring up simultaneously.
- This species of leopard has a slow reproduction rate as a female gives birth to 1 or 4 cubs only at a time.
- There is a loss of habitat due to forest fires which are quite occurring in the area.
An average adult male of these species has a length of 1.1 – 1.4 meters and a mass of 32 – 48 kilograms with a shoulder height of 0.64 – 0.78 meters while an average adult female has a length of 0.73 meters to 1.1 meters and a mass of 25 – 42 kilograms. Both males and females have long bushy tails of 0.81 – 0.89 meters.
Breeding of Amur leopard
Breeding Season: Amur leopards have no specific breeding seasons or time; they breed all through the year.
Gestation period: They have a gestation period( time taken from the fertilization of the egg to birth of an offspring) of about 12 weeks.
Size of litter: An average female leopard of this species gives birth to 1 – 4babies (cubs) at a time.
Size of Newborn babies: 500 – 700 grams.
Age of sexual maturity: The babies(cubs) become sexually mature at about 2 – 3 years of age.
Average life span
Amur leopards have an average lifespan of 10 – 15 which is lower than the average lifespan of other leopards who live for 12 – 17 years.
Speed and Jumping
They are really fast and swift as they can run with a speed of 37 miles per hour; these big cats can easily win Usain bolt in a race as he runs with an average speed of 28 miles per hour… too fast for a human!
Amur leopard can jump forward(horizontally) up to a length of 5.8 meters (19 feet), this is a great feat comparing to most animals in the wild and the big cats in particular.
Amur leopards have thick and fluffy white or cream fur with large wide-spaced black spots called “rosettes” covering the head, back, legs, and tail. The fur length varies from 0.7 – 0.9 inches in summer periods to a whopping 2.8 inches in winter periods as they grow and cut so that the leopards can adapt to the changing temperatures.
Amur leopard sleeps and rests under shady trees and cool caves especially during hot weather and they tend to rest more on rocks or open grasslands in cool weather.
With the size of these leopards, they still have predators, the commonest and only known predators are the tigers who usually prey on them during the winter period as there is a reduction in the availability of prey and the fact that the leopards don’t move in groups.
One of the surprising facts about the Amur leopard is that they are highly territorial and live and wander apart from each other only coming together for the purpose of mating and reproduction.
Fun Facts About The Amur Leopards
- An individual can have a territory of a whooping size of 19 – 119 square miles!!! which is the size of 56,144 football fields as a football field has a size of 0.002 square miles… quite unbelievable!!! but you must have to believe because it is a fact.
- They have rough tongues covered in tiny hooks known as denticles which they use for the function of scraping meat off the bones of their prey… scary?
- They don’t work away from leftover food as most big cats do; rather they drag them to concealing places where they would go to recover them when the need arises thereby conserving resources… humans should even learn from them.
- They prey mostly on ruminants and rodents but when their adrenaline level is high, they fancy their chances and prey on young black bears… surely that’s an act of bravery.
In the above article, I have written down everything that one might need to know about the rarest species of leopards; all facts about the Amur leopards from physical to behavioral characteristics in the most comprehensible or understandable manner possible; however, this article is still subject to updates and you can send in your suggestions through commenting on the post.
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