Critically endangered Amur leopard captured

Oct 23, 2007
Critically endangered Amur leopard captured
Conservationist examing a recently captured Amur leopard in Russia. Credit: Wildlife Conservation Society

A rare Amur leopard (Panthera pardus orientalis), one of only an estimated 30 left in the wild has been captured and health-checked by experts from a consortium of conservation organizations, before being released.

Representatives from a group of organizations, including the Russian Academy of Sciences Institute of Biology and Soils, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) captured the female in a remote location in south-west Primorye as part of their work to save the critically endangered leopard. The animal was tranquilized and an extensive and high-tech medical examination undertaken by the veterinary team.

Alexei Kostyria, biologist from the Institute of Biology and Soils in Vladivostok and co-leader of the project, commented, “This capture represents a new benchmark in assessing health of wild animals in Russia. We have brought together top experts from Russia and around the world and taken state-of-the-art equipment deep into the taiga to conduct medical assessments of the Far Eastern leopard. We have an unprecedented level of collaboration and remarkable effort that is essential if we are to save this critically endangered leopard.”

Kostyria’s counterpart, John Goodrich of the Wildlife Conservation Society, commented, “Catching this female was a big step forward in our efforts to understand the status of this population, and to better define necessary conservation actions needed to conserve this population.”

There are estimated to be between 24 and 32 Amur leopards living in the wild, making this population the rarest big cat on the planet. The animals are found in a corner of the Russian Far East on the Chinese border, in an area where their range is restricted by human activity. As the wild population is so small, it is likely that inbreeding (breeding between close relatives) is taking place and it is important to find out if this is having damaging effects on the cats in order to plan conservation action for the future. The Wildlife Conservation Society and the Zoological Society of London are working with local organizations to initiate a wildlife health monitoring program involving leopards and other wildlife in the region.

Initial findings from the veterinary examination of the leopard include the presence of a heart murmur, which could be indicative of inbreeding depression. Remarkably given the remote location, the team was able to capture footage of the heart, using a portable sonogram device, which has already been sent out for review by heart specialists. Further results are expected once laboratory analysis has been carried out, which will provide more information about the reproductive condition of the leopard as well as any illnesses or parasites that she may have been suffering from.

Source: Wildlife Conservation Society

Explore further: Free the seed: OSSI nurtures growing plants without patent barriers

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Zulu church embraces faux fur to protect leopards

Feb 19, 2014

Carrying Zulu warrior shields and draped in leopard skins, the men of South Africa's Shembe Church move hypnotically as they go through the steps of a traditional religious ritual.

Rescuing backyard tigers

Feb 19, 2014

Significantly more tigers are in U.S captivity than are left in the wild. In fact, as many as 10,000 tigers, lions and other endangered big cats are privately owned in the United States, according to the ...

New large population of chimpanzees discovered

Feb 06, 2014

(Phys.org) —With great ape populations in fast decline, it is crucial to obtain a global picture of their distribution and abundance, in order to channel and direct conservation activities to where they ...

Endangered Indian snow leopards to be tracked by GPS

Jan 22, 2014

Six snow leopards in the icy Indian state of Himachal Pradesh will be fitted with satellite-linked collars in a project aimed at deepening understanding of the endangered mountain cat, wildlife officials ...

Rare Amur leopard killed in China

Jan 20, 2014

An extremely rare Amur leopard has been killed in China, state media reported Monday, as police searched for the suspected trapper.

Recommended for you

Plants with dormant seeds give rise to more species

Apr 18, 2014

Seeds that sprout as soon as they're planted may be good news for a garden. But wild plants need to be more careful. In the wild, a plant whose seeds sprouted at the first warm spell or rainy day would risk disaster. More ...

Researchers successfully clone adult human stem cells

Apr 18, 2014

(Phys.org) —An international team of researchers, led by Robert Lanza, of Advanced Cell Technology, has announced that they have performed the first successful cloning of adult human skin cells into stem ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Biologists help solve fungi mysteries

(Phys.org) —A new genetic analysis revealing the previously unknown biodiversity and distribution of thousands of fungi in North America might also reveal a previously underappreciated contributor to climate ...

Making graphene in your kitchen

Graphene has been touted as a wonder material—the world's thinnest substance, but super-strong. Now scientists say it is so easy to make you could produce some in your kitchen.

Growing app industry has developers racing to keep up

Smartphone application developers say they are challenged by the glut of apps as well as the need to update their software to keep up with evolving phone technology, making creative pricing strategies essential to finding ...