Leopard

The leopard has the greatest range of any big cat, extending from the coasts of southern Africa to the snow-covered hills of the Russian Far East. However, the leopard now occupies just 25 to 37 percent of its historic range, and some of the nine subspecies have experienced precipitous declines of more than 90 percent. WCS works on leopard conservation across much of the species’ range, from Africa’s rainforests and savannas to Iran and Afghanistan’s desert mountains and across Asia to the Russian Far East. 

The critically endangered population of Far Eastern leopards may number as few as 60 individuals and, like many isolated big cat populations, is at great risk from the impact of infectious disease. In 2015 canine distemper virus (CDV) was diagnosed in a wild Amur leopard. WCS Health Programs helped lead the investigation and monitoring of leopard health in the Russian Far East and is helping to secure the future of this subspecies and reducing the risk posed by future outbreaks of CDV or other infectious diseases.

 

Leopard photo credits (banner and thumbnail): Julie Larsen Maher, WCS

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