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Amur Leopard in the red

April 23, 2007
The world’s rarest big cat may be doomed to extinction.

We’ve known for some time that Amur leopard numbers were low,” said Darron Collins, managing director of WWF’s program for the Amur-Heilong region.

“But this collaborative census demonstrates precisely how dangerously low the numbers are and how dire the overall situation is,”

clipped from

Leopard Near Extinction — Only About 30 Remain

A new census estimates that only 25 to 34 wild Amur leopards remain—at least 66 fewer than are needed to ensure survival, experts say.

Weighing in at about 55 to 130 pounds (25 to 59 kilograms), the large cat once flourished along the Korean Peninsula, in the Russian Far East, and in northeastern China. But habitat fragmentation and the hunting of the leopard and its prey have eviscerated wild populations, conservationists say

The Amur’s long legs and long fur set it apart from other leopards, allowing it to prowl in deep snow and withstand Siberian cold.

Picture of an Amur, or Far Eastern, leopard

The international conservation organization WWF, the Russian Academy of Science, and the Wildlife Conservation Society announced the results yesterday at Russia’s Ministry of Natural Resources in Moscow.

Researchers found at least four leopard litters, which they called “a sign the population has some hope for regeneration,” according to a statement.

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