Our commitment to environmental sustainability…
This year we have chosen to adopted the critically endangered Amur Leopards through the WWF (World Wildlife Fund).
With only around 80 adults left in the wild, the Amur leopard could be the most endangered big cat on Earth.
Not many people ever see an Amur leopard in the wild. Not surprising, as there are so few of them, but a shame considering how beautiful they are. Thick, luscious, black-ringed coats and a huge furry tails they can wrap around themselves to keep warm. The good news is, having been driven to the edge of extinction, their numbers appear to be rising thanks to conservation work.
The Amur leopard is a nocturnal animal that lives and hunts alone – mainly in the vast forests of Russia and China. During the harsh winter, the hairs of that unique coat can grow up to 7cm long.
Over the years the Amur leopard hasn’t just been hunted mercilessly, its homelands have been gradually destroyed by unsustainable logging, forest fires, road building, farming, and industrial development. But recent research shows conservation work is having a positive effect, and wild Amur leopard numbers are believed to have increased, though there are still only around 80 adults in the wild, in Russia and north-east China.
CHALLENGES AFFECTING AMUR LEOPARDS
- Illegal Wildlife Trade
- Threats from Climate Change
- Habitat loss and fragmentation
WHERE AMUR LEOPARDS LIVE
Wild Amur leopards are now only found in the border areas between the Russian Far East and north-east China, and possibly North Korea. Most are in Russia, with a few in China. Their range is smaller than 2,500 sq km – that’s an area smaller than Dorset. They prefer mature forest and avoid open grasslands or populated areas.
WHY AMUR LEOPARDS ARE SO IMPORTANT
Amur leopards are top predators in their landscape, so they’re crucial role for keeping the right balance of species in their area. That also affects the health of the forests and wider environment, which provides local wildlife and people with food, water and other resources. By protecting the Amur leopard we’re helping to look after its environment for the benefit of other wildlife and people that share it.
HOW WE CAN HELP
WWF have helped significantly to increase the numbers of deer and wild boar in Amur leopard habitat – by supplementing the food of these prey species during hard winters, vaccinating wild boar against disease, and working with wildlife managers and hunters to maintain healthy populations of ungulates.
WWF work alongside TRAFFIC (the wildlife trade monitoring network) to investigate and crack down on the illegal trade in Amur leopard products – and to reduce demand, so that this trade will no longer be a significant threat to the conservation of this animal.
WWF are working with local communities, regional authorities and governments to increase the amount of protected land that’s available to Amur leopards. WWF also promote ways to reduce illegal and unsustainable forest practices.
By adopting Amur leopards we are helping:
- gain government agreement to safeguard existing protected areas
- promote sustainable use of natural resources in the region
- establish a programme to increase prey numbers
- equip and train local firefighters to reduce the impact of forest fires
- increase fines for poaching and illegal trade of leopards and prey species
* All text and images are courtesy of the WWF website, to read more or to make a donation please visit https://support.wwf.org.uk/adopt-a-leopard