Q:

Where do amur leopards live?

A:

Quick Answer

A few amur leopards live in temperate forests in far eastern Russia, a small part of northeast China, possibly in North Korea and in the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea. Others reside in zoos worldwide.

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Full Answer

Once amur leopards roamed throughout the forests of northern China, southeast Russia and the Korean peninsula. However, both the International Union for Conservation of Nature and the Natural Resources Red List of Threatened Species consider the big cats critically endangered.

There are no more than 40 amur leopards left in the wild and only 200 to 300 in zoos and other captive habitats, as of 2014. In 2007, a census counted 20 to 25 leopards between Vladivostok and the Chinese border in Russia and only 12 remained in China. In 2009, North Korea reported a few leopards remaining in the Myohyangsan Nature Reserve. The last confirmed sighting of a leopard in South Korea was in 1969.

To thrive, amur leopards need extensive forests with abundant amounts of prey ungulates, such as roe deer, sika deer, moose, musk deer, wapiti and wild pigs. Threats to the amur leopards' survival include loss of habitat due to logging and land conversion for agriculture, forest fires, insufficient prey and poaching. Because there are so few specimens remaining, the amur leopard species is weakening due to inbreeding.

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