WWF: Russia setting up park to save leopards
An Amur leopard is pictured in the wild in 2007.
April 10th, 2012
01:29 PM ET

WWF: Russia setting up park to save leopards

Russia took a big step Tuesday to try to save the Amur leopard, the world's most endangered cat, with just 40 believed left in the wild.

The country is establishing a new national park in Russia's Far East that encompasses about 60% of the endangered cat's habitat and all of its breeding areas, according to a statement from the World Wildlife Fund announcing the park. The organization has been pushing for establishment of the Land of the Leopard National Park since 2001.

Amur leopards are literally teetering on the brink of extinction,” Sybille Klenzendorf, head of the WWF’s species program, said in a statement. “With the establishment of Land of the Leopard National Park, in conjunction with other conservation efforts, we can now start to focus on how to begin bringing them back.”

The cats are also known as the Far East leopard, the Manchurian leopard or the Korean leopard. They live in the temperate forests in Russia's Far East between Vladivostok and the border with China and endure extreme winters with the help of pelts that triple in length during the cold months, according to the WWF's website on the leopards.

The leopards have a life span of 10 to 15 years in the wild. Large males can weigh up to 165 pounds, with the average male topping out at about 100 pounds. Females are about 95 pounds at their largest, according to the WWF.

The 650,000-acre park will include sites for ecotourism as well as protected areas, according to the WWF statement. The Russian government is spending about $16.6 million for its development.

Ten Amur, or Siberian, tigers, also an endangered species, are also believed to live in the park, according to the WWF. The tiger species also once numbered about 40 individuals in the wild, but the population has recovered to 450 individuals today with preservation efforts, giving hope to the leopard plans, according to the WWF.

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Filed under: Animals • Leopards • Russia
soundoff (59 Responses)
  1. RugDumplin

    What is man without the beasts? If all the beasts were gone, man would die from a great loneliness of spirit. For whatever happens to the beasts, soon happens to man. All things are connected.

    April 10, 2012 at 8:39 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • lovethosecats

      we actually live off of those spirits.

      April 10, 2012 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
  2. that asian dude

    too many politicians, I would like to exchange 100 politicians for 1 leopard, and trust me, it will fill up the kitty population quickly

    April 10, 2012 at 8:44 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Salvice

      the truest words ever spoken

      April 10, 2012 at 9:38 pm | Report abuse |
  3. bobcat8u

    What are you yammering about

    April 10, 2012 at 8:53 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  4. lila

    Better late than never. I visit some of these beautiful animals at a Conservation center, they are so gorgeous.

    April 10, 2012 at 8:57 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  5. levas

    Too little too late. The genetic pool is now too small to prevent eventual inbreeding. The unavoidable inbreeding will cause the resulting generations to weaken to the point of non-survivable young. If by some miracle, the Russians have archived a larger genetic pool of these cats, then the species is, as they say, kaput.

    April 10, 2012 at 8:57 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. DOYAL CAPE

    we lose these beautiful animals and we lose, period!!!!!!

    April 10, 2012 at 9:13 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Longing

    I long to be with these cats.....So pure, so precious, so rare. Who needs women?

    April 10, 2012 at 9:20 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  8. LiqMat

    The Florida panther is almost gone as well.

    April 10, 2012 at 9:23 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  9. max

    glad to see my donations to WWF are going to good use.
    About time man does something good for the planet.

    April 10, 2012 at 9:23 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  10. ladylike56

    I hope they can save this beautiful cat.

    April 10, 2012 at 9:43 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  11. viranka

    leave it to man to DESTROY everything on this plant,

    April 10, 2012 at 10:04 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • erin andrews perky breasts

      SAVE THE PLANET KILL YOURSELF

      April 10, 2012 at 10:10 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Wayne

    Reblogged this on luvsiesous and commented:
    We need to save the most endangered cat in the world.

    The Amur Leopard is the most endangered cat in the world.

    Wayne

    April 10, 2012 at 10:10 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Julie

    Such beautiful animals – and naughty as all heck I'll bet. :)
    These cats are dying out, not because they've reached an evolutionary dead end, or encountered a naturel disaster. It's because of habitat destruction and hunting by humans – a decidedly unnatural disaster on account of us having jumped the boundaries of evolution. I think it's a test of our worth and intelligence to step back and make room for the fantastic diversity of life on Earth.
    God bless the leopards.

    April 10, 2012 at 10:19 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  14. LMNOP

    They should put them in a leopards colony.

    April 10, 2012 at 10:42 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  15. JR

    I just read that a zoo near me ( Calgary ) a mother Amur had 2 babies not long ago, hopefully these 2 little ones make it

    April 10, 2012 at 10:58 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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