Leopards are commonly associated with African savannas, but in the Russian Far East, an unique subspecies has adapted to living in the temperate woods that make up the species’ northernmost territory. The Amur leopard, like other leopards, can reach speeds of up to 37 miles per hour. This amazing creature has been seen to leap over 19 feet horizontally and up to 10 feet vertically.

The Amur leopard lives alone. It’s nimble-footed and strong, and it carries and hides unfinished kills so that other predators don’t get them. Some males have been known to stay with females after mating and even assist in the upbringing of the babies. Several males may pursue and battle for a female. They live for 10-15 years in the wild and up to 20 years in captivity. The Far East leopard, Manchurian leopard, and Korean leopard are all names for the Amur leopard.

Amur leopard and baby
Amur leopard and baby
  • STATUS: Critically Endangered
  • POPULATION: More than 84 individuals
  • SCIENTIFIC NAME: Panthera pardus orientalis
  • WEIGHT: 70 -105 pounds
  • HABITATS: Temperate, Broadleaf, and Mixed Forests

Why They Matter

The Amur leopard is environmentally, commercially, and culturally significant. Other species, such as Amur tigers and prey species like deer, benefit from its habitat conservation. We can bring them back and assure the region’s long-term conservation with the correct conservation initiatives.


Illegal Wildelife Trade

The Amur leopard’s gorgeous, spotted fur is a major draw for poachers. In the Russian settlement of Barabash, not far from the Kedrovaya Pad reserve, an undercover investigation team discovered a female and a male Amur leopard skin being sold for $500 and $1,000, respectively, in 1999. The leopards’ habitat is surrounded by agriculture and communities. As a result, the woodlands are very accessible, making poaching a problem—not only for leopards, but also for vital prey species like roe deer, sika deer, and hare, which are targeted by locals for food and money.

Amur leopard1

Prey Scarcity

Across the Amur in Russia and China, significant swaths of appropriate habitat remain. Large numbers of leopards and tigers cannot be sustained in China due to a lack of prey. Prey populations will rebound if measures are made to reduce prey poaching and forests are managed more sustainably for logging. The Amur leopard must repopulate its previous area if it is to survive in the long run. However, prey populations must first rebound in order for this to happen.