Amur Leopard Cub ~ Twycross Zoo ~ Leicester ~ England ~ Monday November 28th 2016.
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Well, as promised, I went to Tywcross Zoo in Leicester a few days ago, prior to meeting and greeting the gorgeous singer Katie Melua.:)
Where I got to photograph a couple of critically endangered Amur Leopard cubs, as ya do..Here’s one of many shots I captured…Have a Fabulous Monday Y’all..:)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia ~ Amur leopard ~ en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amur_leopard ~
The Amur leopard (Panthera pardus orientalis) is a leopard subspecies native to the Primorye region of southeastern Russia and the Jilin Province of northeast China. It is listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List. In 2007, only 19–26 wild Amur leopards were estimated to survive. Data published by the World Wildlife Fund indicates that there are roughly 70 adult Amur leopards in the wild today. A more recent study places the number of Amur leopards at fewer than 60.
The Amur leopard is also known as the Far Eastern leopard.
Characteristics ~ Amur leopards differ from other subspecies by a thick coat of spot-covered fur. They show the strongest and most consistent divergence in pattern. Leopards from the Amur River basin, the mountains of north-eastern China and the Korean Peninsula have pale, cream-colored coats, particularly in winter. Rosettes on the flanks are 5 cm × 5 cm (2.0 in × 2.0 in) and widely spaced, up to 2.5 cm (0.98 in), with thick, unbroken rings and darkened centers.
Their coat is fairly soft with long and dense hair. The length of hair on the back is 20–25 mm (0.79–0.98 in) in summer and up to 70 mm (2.8 in) in winter. The winter coat varies from fairly light yellow to dense yellowish-red with a golden tinge or rusty-reddish-yellow. The summer pelage is brighter with more vivid coloration pattern. Compared with other leopard subspecies, they are rather small in size, with males larger than females. Males measure from 107 to 136 cm (42 to 54 in) with a 82 to 90 cm (32 to 35 in) long tail, a shoulder height of 64 to 78 cm (25 to 31 in), and a weight of 32.2–48 kg (71–106 lb). Females weigh from 25 to 42.5 kg (55 to 94 lb).
Amur leopards have long limbs and are well adapted to walking through deep snow.
Distribution and habitat ~ Hermann Schlegel first described an Amur leopard in 1857 on the basis of a skin from Korea. The Amur leopard is the only Panthera pardus subspecies adapted to a cold snowy climate. Fossils of leopards from the Pleistocene period have been excavated in Japan, although identification of the species is uncertain.
Previous population and distribution ~
The distribution of the Amur leopard has been reduced to a fraction of its original range. It once extended throughout northeastern (“Manchurian”) China, including Jilin and Heilongjiang Provinces, and throughout the Korean Peninsula. The species range in Russia was dramatically reduced during the seventies, losing about 80% of its former range. The northern boundary of their existence commenced on the coast of the Sea of Japan at 44°N and ran south at a distance of 15–30 km (9.3–18.6 mi) from the coast to 43°10’N. There it turned steeply westward, north of the Suchan River basin, then north to encompass the source of the Ussuri River and two right bank tributaries in the upper reaches of the Ussuri. There the boundary turned westward toward the bank of Khanka Lake. In the 1950s, leopards were observed 50 km (31 mi) north of Vladivostok and in Kedrovaya Pad Nature Reserve. The association of Amur leopards with mountains is fairly definite. They are confined more to places where wild sika deer live or where deer husbandry is practised. In winter, they keep to snow-free rocky slopes facing south.
Current population and distribution ~
Today, the Amur leopard inhabits about 5,000 km2 (1,900 sq mi). The last remaining viable wild population, estimated at 57 individuals, is found in a small area in the Russian Province of Primorsky Krai, between Vladivostok and the Chinese border. In adjacent China, 7-12 scattered individuals are estimated to remain. In South Korea, the last record of an Amur leopard dates back to 1969, when a leopard was captured on the slopes of Odo Mountain, in South Kyongsang Province.
Leopards cross between Russia, China, and North Korea across the Tumen River despite a high and long wire fence marking the boundary. Ecological conditions along the border in the mountains are not yet monitored. In China, Amur leopards were photographed by camera traps in Wangqing and Hunchun, east Jilin Province, China. The only official North Korean government webportal reported in 2009 that some leopards were in Myohyangsan Nature Reserve located in Hyangsan County. It is likely the southernmost living group of Amur leopard.
Amur leopard numbers have been reduced via over hunting of prey and poaching combined with habitat loss from agricultural and urban development. However, both camera-trapping and snow-tracking surveys indicate that the population has been stable over the last 30 years, but with a high rate of turnover of individuals. If appropriate conservation actions are taken, there is great potential for increasing population size, increasing survival rates and habitat recovery in both Russia and China.
Ecology and behavior ~ Amur leopards are crepuscular and usually start hunting shortly before sunset. They are active again in the early mornings. During the day, they rest and hide in caves or dense thickets, but rarely hunt. They are solitary, unless females have offspring.
They are extremely conservative in their choice of territory. An individual’s territory is usually located in a river basin which generally extends to the natural topographical borders of the area. The territory of two individuals may sometimes overlap, but only slightly. Depending on sex, age, and family size, the size of an individual’s territory can vary from 5,000–30,000 ha (19–116 sq mi). They may use the same hunting trails, routes of constant migration, and even places for extended rest constantly over the course of many years. At places where wild animals are abundant, leopards live permanently or perform only vertical migrations, trailing herds of ungulates and avoiding snow. In the Ussuri region the main prey of leopards are roe and sika deer, Manchurian wapiti, musk deer, moose, and wild pig. More rarely they catch hare, badger, fowl, and mice. In Kedrovaya Pad Nature Reserve roe deer is their main prey year-round, but they also prey on young Eurasian black bears less than two years old.
When density of ungulates is low, leopards have large home ranges that can be up to 100 km2 (39 sq mi).
During a study of radio-collared Amur leopards in the early 1990s, a territorial dispute between two males at a deer farm was documented, suggesting that deer farms are favoured habitats. Female leopards with cubs are relatively often found in the proximity of deer farms. The large number of domestic deer is a reliable food source that may help to survive difficult times.
They can run at 37 mi (60 km) per hour, and can leap more than 19 ft (5.8 m) horizontally and up to 10 ft (3.0 m) vertically.
Tagged: , Leopard , Amur Leopard , Cats , Big Cats , Animals , mammals , Leicester , Twycross Zoo , Zoo , Zoology