I love cats so much and was sorry to end the A-Z I was doing but have now found there are lots of big cats out there and thought it would be interesting to check them out. Unfortunately some of these beautiful creatures may be at risk of extinction even though so much is being done to prevent that from happening.
The AMUR LEOPARD (Scientific name: Panthera pardus orientalis), also known as the Far Eastern leopard, is a big cat that inhabits parts of southeastern Rusia (Primorye Krai) and northeastern China (Jilin and Heilongjian). A few leopards have also been reported in northern Korea.
The cat is listed as CRITICALLY ENDANGERED on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Currently, there are less than 35 Amur leopards still living in the wild. The Amur leopard is one of the most endangered wild cats on the planet.
The Amur leopard lives father north than any other leopard and is the only leopard subspecies that has adapted to a cold climate. Its fur is thick and soft and overall the coat is a pale colour, which helps the cat hide in the snow.
Amur leopards are relatively small in size. Males range from 42 to 54 inches, with a rail length o 21 to 35 inches. They weigh between 70 and 100 lbs. Females are smaller weighing between 50 and 95 lbs. The cat's coat ranges in colour from various shades of yellow to gold and is covered in spots. The leopard's fur is usually much lighter during the winter months.
These leopards maintain individual territories approximately 20 to 120 miles in size, usually in a river basin. They generally live between 10 to 15 years although they can live up to 20 years in captivity. Their prey consists of musk deer, roe deer, moose, wild pig, Manchurian wapiti (elk), hare, badger, fowl, mice and at times, young black bears. They usually hunt at night.
Female leopards start breeding between 3-4 years of age and have between one to four cubs during the spring or early summer. Most recently, the average size of a litter has only been two cubs. The young cats leave their mothers within 1 to 1.5 years.
The serious decline of the Amur leopard population is the result of poaching, deforestation and loss of habitat due to fires. Another key conservation concern is inbreeding of the remaining cats. The zoo population of Amur leopards is believed to be approximately 176.
I found this information on bigcatswildcats.com where you can watch a video about the conservation of these beautiful creatures.