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Amur Leopard

Scientific name: Panthera pardus orientalis

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Amur Leopard - Panthera pardus orientalis.

Amur Leopard - Panthera pardus orientalis.

Photo © Chrisds / iStockphoto.

The Amur leopard (Panthera pardus orientalis) is a subspecies of leopard and ranks among the world's most endangered cats, with only 25–40 individuals surviving in the easternmost regions of Russia. In the 19th century, the range of the Amur leopard extended from southeastern Russia, through Northeast China, and into the Korean peninsula. But after decades of habitat destruction, poaching, and hunting of its prey, the Amur leopard has been restricted to a tiny fragment of its former range.

The Amur leopard is an oddity among leopard species. Unlike its relatives who inhabit the warm savannas of Africa, the Amur leopard is well adapted to the cold mountain habitats of Russia's Far East. The Amur leopard has long limbs that enable it to walk through deep snow. When the seasons turn cold, the Amur leopard sheds its shorter, golden colored coat in favor of a longer, lighter colored coat which provides it with added insulation and camouflage.

The Amur leopard lives in the forests of the Sihote Alin Mountain Range where much of the year it encounters deep snow and harsh climates. It relies on roe deer, sika deer, wild boar, musk deer, and small mammals such as hares and badgers for its food supply.

The Amur leopard's present range includes the far south-east of Russia, along the border of China and North Korea and bounded on the west by the Sea of Japan.

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