The Amur leopard once ranged across northern China, the Korean Peninsula and southern areas of the Russian Far East, but is now found only in a small part of southwest Primorskii Krai in Russia. Because it is adapted to the snowy winters there, it has a thicker, paler coat than leopards found in Africa or India.
The Amur leopard is found in temperate forest habitat, which experience a wide range of variability in temperature and precipitation. It is known to adapt to almost any habitat that provides it with sufficient food and cover.The Amur leopard is habitually nocturnal and solitary. Nimble-footed and strong, it carries and hides unfinished kills so that they are not taken by other predators. However, it has been reported that some males stay with females after mating, and may even help with rearing the young. Several males sometimes follow and fight over a female.The Amur leopard attains sexual maturity at three years, is known to live for 10-15 years, and in captivity up to 20 years.The species breeds in spring and early summer. The litter size ranges from 1 to 4 cubs. The cubs are weaned when they are three months old, and leave their mother when they are one-and-a-half to two years old.The main prey species are roe deer and sika deers, small wild boars, along with hares, badgers and raccoon dogs.
The Amur leopard (Panthera pardus orientalis) is considered to be one of the most critically endangered big cats in the world, with just 35 remaining in the wild, all in the Russian Far East . It is one of ten living subspecies of leopard (according to the most recent genetic study) but it is especially distinctive due to a particularly pale coat compared to most other subspecies, and dark rosettes which are large and widely spaced with thick, unbroken rings . This beautiful leopard is well adapted to living in the harsh, cold climates of its range, with a thick coat.
Loss of biodiversity is becoming an increasing global concern. What is biodiversity and why is it important? It can be described as the variety of living organisms on earth, the range of species, the genetic variability within species and the different characteristics taken on by ecosystems (McBeath & McBeath 2006, p.293). Some estimates state that currently over one thousand species are lost per year, compared to only about four per year before the arrival of humans (McBeath & McBeath, 2006, p. 293).
In China, there are a large variety of species, including a considerable amount of endemic species. An endemic species is one that is restricted to a certain region . It is one of the world’s most diverse countries with respect to biodiversity, housing more than ten percent of the world’s known species. China is home to more than 35, 000 species of vascular plants (Ministry of Environmental Protection, 2008, p. i; Liu et al., 2003, p. 1240), and nearly 6500 species of vertebrates of which, respectively, approximately 17,300 and 667 are endemic.