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Amur leopards hold large territories so that they do not compete with each other for food. They mainly hunt at night, slowly stalking prey or waiting, hidden from prey until it comes close enough for the Amur leopard to attack. The Siberian roe deer makes up most of their diet but Amur leopards also eat musk deer, Sika deer, wild boar, hare, badger, raccoon, dog and pheasants. The Amur leopard has denticles, which make its tongue rough, so that it can scrape off meat next to the bone, leaving nothing to waste. To protect leftovers from other carnivores, the Amur leopard might drag the food hundreds of metres to hide it in dense vegetation or up in trees.
The Amur leopard is found further north than other leopard subspecies, in mountainous, forested areas. Populations can be found in the Russian Far East and in North East China.
Females first breed between the ages of three and four. After twelve weeks they give birth to a litter of one to four cubs, with two being the average. The cubs will stay with their mother for the first two years of their life.
The Amur leopard is an apex predator, which means that they are at the top of their food chain and aren’t preyed upon by any other animals.
As of 2016 there were less than 60 individual Amur leopards in the wild and their range has become smaller due to habitat loss and hunting. To help, the Amur leopard is on CITES Appendix I which means that international trade of the Amur leopard and its parts are prohibited. Other conservation efforts include population monitoring and research, education about their importance and compensation to people for loss of their livestock, which helps to deter locals from killing the leopards. There are also breeding programmes in zoological parks to maintain a safety net population.
Status Critically Endangered
Weight Males: 32-48 kg; Females: 25-43 kg
Gestation Males: 32-48 kg; Females: 25-43 kg
Life span Up to 20 years
The Amur leopard’s fur is soft and dense, unlike the short, more coarse fur of cats from warmer climates.
The Amur leopard is well adapted to life during the cold months as its coat will grow from 3cm up to 7.5cm long in the winter.
The Amur leopard’s fur is patterned with rosettes. The rosettes are larger and have more space between them than in other leopard subspecies.