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Amur Leopards are facing a variety of threats today. Their numbers in the wild are too low to sustain sufficient genetic variability. Captive leopards worldwide suffer from pollution of their gene pool with as few as twelve animals reported to be purebred in captive programs globally. In nature they suffer from inbreeding, loss of habitat to logging and forest fires, poaching, hunting and conflict with humans. Less than forty animals exist today in which only half a dozen or so are females. Fortunately some conservation programs are underway that are beginning to collar and study the leopards, undertake regular patrols to deter poachers and compensate locals against any loss of their livestock and bred animals at the hands of leopards. A lot of financial and logistic input is still required before the beautiful Amur Leopard can rise from its current conservation status of Critically Endangered.


There appears to be poaching of leopards as well as their prey species. Poachers include both poor local villagers and newly rich Russians, mainly from the city of Vladivostok, as well as Chinese nationals who illegally cross the border into Russia. Russian hunters kill many more deer than is officially allowed and Amur leopards are sometimes caught in snares as well. Since 2002, skins or corpses of nine Amur leopards killed by poachers have been found in Russia and at least two leopards have been killed in China. Matt Davies is doing a talk on this for Env. Science AS Level .


The forests on which Amur leopards depend have slowly disappeared as a result of frequent fires. Local villagers start fires for various reasons, but mainly to stimulate the growth of ferns that are a very popular ingredient in Russian and Chinese dishes.


Loss of genetic diversity in the small and isolated Amur leopard population may cause inbreeding depression (reduced numbers due to reduced reproduction, lifespan , and increased vulnerability to diseases). However, the results of research so far are inconclusive and additional information on the effects of inbreeding is needed before conclusions can be drawn.They have young every two years.

Development projects

Southwest Primary is located close to the Russian borders with China and North Korea, making it an attractive area for infrastructure projects such as new railways, gas and oil pipelines and ports. In 2005 and 2006 the Zoological Society of London and other ALTA partners led a successful international campaign against a plan to build an oil pipeline terminal on the coast of the Sea of Japan in the leopard's range.