Houdini, a 6-year old Amur leopard, (Panthera pardus orientalis), was given to Spokane’s Cat Tales by Randy Miller’s Predator’s in Action. He is also currently up for adoption. (Houdini will remain safely in the exhibit at Cat Tales).
Leopards are highly developed, intelligent and thinking cats, which if not challenged will look to the outside of their daily routines for stimulation and inspiration and Houdini is no exception. Houdini is a gifted cat that likes the pretty girl next door along with keeper attention.
Amur leopards–called Far Eastern Leopards in Russia–are one of the rarest subspecies in all of nature. They are well-known for their large, thickly bordered circular markings and their attractive rosette patterns. Amur leopards have exceptionally long hair in return to the cold climate they dwell in.
Originally found in the Russian Far East and Manchuria, the Korean peninsula, the last recorded specimen in South Korea was captured in 1969. 2001 field studies of the Russian Far East put forward a population of 40 animals, and similar studies in 1998 in North Korea claim about 10 leopards in that region. The living population in two nearby provinces of China statistics is just 10 to 15 more, totaling 60-65. The status of this race is critically endangered. As of July, 2002, the captive worldwide population was a mere 222 leopards
Because of conflict with humans and extensive habitat loss, the situation regarding the Amur leopard is critical. Yet, the fact that its more eminent cousin – the Amur tiger – recovered from an uncertain state of less than 40 individuals around 60-70 years ago gives conservationists bright hope. It is said that the Amur leopard can be rescued from extinction if the present conservation initiatives are executed, improved and continued.
The beautiful coat is a light, cream color, more so in the winter months, with widely spaced rosettes featuring thick, black rings and gorgeous darkened centers. The length of the coat varies between 1 inch in summer and 3 inches in winter. The paler coat and longer fur of the Amur leopard make it stand out from other subspecies. They also possess stunning light, blue-green eyes. Male Amur leopards weigh 71–106 lb, with exceptionally large males up to 132–165 lb. Females are smaller than the males weighing 55–95 lb/
Amur leopards in captivity show some evidence of seasonal breeding with a peak in births in late spring/early summer. After a gestation period of 12 weeks or so cubs are born in litters of 1–4. The cubs will stay with their mother about two years before becoming fully independent. Females first breed at an age of 3–4 years.
Amur leopards are one of the most endangered species on the planet and the most endangered big cat.
ALTA members have created a complete conservation program for the Amur leopard’s range in Northeast China and Russia which embraces forest fire-fighting, a compensation for livestock killed by tigers and leopards, anti-poaching. a comprehensive education and public awareness program, ecological and biomedical research, population monitoring (snow-track counts and camera trapping), lobbying for improved conservation policies and regulations, and support for protected areas and hunting leases.