The authorities at the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) have classified this Manchurian leopard as one of the critically endangered species of the wild animals in the world. The lovers of nature would be alarmed to know that the surviving members of this rare Korean Leopard (alternative name) range from 20 to 26 in number. This Far Eastern Amur Leopard was declared critically endangered as early as the year 1996.
As obvious from its different regional names and Amur Leopard facts that it has been living in some Northeastern countries of Asia, particularly North Korea, Russia and People’s Republic of China. However, as the population is gradually advancing towards its ultimate extinction in the near future, the habitat has squeezed to extreme narrowness. These limited regions include Jilin, a province of northeastern China, and Primorye, an area of southeastern Russia.
There are a number of severe threats being faced by the few living members of the Far Eastern Leopard, among which, the most prominent are: overhunting, habitat destruction, launch of developmental projects and the biological issue of inbreeding. Despite efforts on the national and international level, poaching could not be prevented which is posing the greatest threat to their life. Poaching is a term that refers to the “illegal or unlawful activity of taking captive or killing the animals”. As the human population is increasing with an uncontrolled rate, there has been witnessed extreme encroachment into the natural habitat of many rare and highly beneficial species of organisms on the planet earth. Similarly, people are degrading forests for the purpose of constructing residential colonies and launching developmental projects. Inbreeding is also posing one of the major threats to the survival of the species. It is a biological or genetic factor which involves the phenomenon of sexual activity in which mating members of a species have a close genetic similarity. It adversely affects the health and survival of Amur leopard offspring as it may be carrying some deleterious or recessive traits of the parents. Such a situation may lead to a phenomenon, called inbreeding depression, which results in the decreased fitness of the offspring that may easily succumb to diseases and death.
Efforts for Conservation:
Different national and international wildlife conservation organizations are making efforts to eliminate the factors that are contributing to the gradual decline and death of this big animal in Russian and northeaster parts of China where the few remaining members are living. A famous name, in this regard, is that of ALTA (Amur Leopard and Tiger Alliance) which is a joint venture by Russia and western conservation organizations to safeguard not only Amur leopard, but also its close relative, i.e. Amur tiger. A team of active workers has been sent to the field for surveillance purposes in order to stop poaching the destruction of their natural environment. The spread of different diseases has not only decreased their life-expectancy but has also claimed the death of many members. So, the effective treatment measures are being devised by the scientists to relieve and control the disorders. If the sincere efforts are continued with same vigor, determination and persistency, soon you will hear that the population of Korean leopard is again increasing and they are safe from the threat of extinction.
Amur Leopard Picture Gallery