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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Two Amur Leopards

Portland, Oregon ~ September 15, 2001

Someone carved a nice image of the extremely rare Amur leopard for the outside of the leopard's enclosure. Can you find the real leopard? Hint: It's sleeping.

This animal is so near extinction, it's scary. To quote Wikipedia, "It is one of the rarest felids in the world with an estimated 30 to 35 individuals remaining in the wild." To quote the IUCN Red List, "The Amur leopard is a very rare subspecies, with a 2007 census counting only 14-20 adults and 5-6 cubs in the southwestern Primorye region of Russia. It faces numerous threats, including encroaching civilization, new roads, poaching, exploitation of forests and climate change. Numbers have fluctuated over recent years - a 2003 census counted 20-21 adults and 4-5 cubs, and a 2000 census counted 13-16 adults with 1-3 cubs (Anonymous 2007). Prior to this, the population had been declining (Pikunov et al. 2000). Its range is estimated at just 2,500 km² (Pikunov et al. 2000). The Amur leopard is extinct in China and the Korean Peninsula (Anonymous 2007)." Giant pandas get the attention, but we need to realize that many species are on the verge of disappearing in our lifetimes. Aside from the wealth we will lose in biodiversity (a survival issue for the planet), we also lose a weath of beauty, fascination, and subjects to delight our eyes, minds, and hearts. We lose something that makes life worth living.

This blog is sponsored by Tapir and Friends Animal Store.

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