The world’s rarest cat, the Amur leopard, is increasing in number, according to new census data that found there are now 65 to 69 of these big cats in the wild versus 30 reported in 2007.
The increase, which doubles the Amur leopard’s known population, shows that conservation efforts in Russia and China — where the animals live — are working.
“Such a strong rebound in Amur leopard numbers is further proof that even the most critically endangered big cats can recover if we protect their habitat and work together on conservation efforts,” Barney Long, who leads Asian species conservation for World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in the U.S., said in a press release.
He added, “There’s still a lot of work to be done in order to secure a safe future for the Amur leopard, but these numbers demonstrate that things are moving in the right direction.”
Staff at Russia’s Land of the Leopard National Park conducted the census, which also involved the work of researchers at the Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, The Amur Leopard Center and WWF-Russia.
The survey found that 57 of the leopards are in the Land of the Leopard National Park, while an additional 8 to 12 leopards live in adjacent areas of China. The park, which was established in 2012, extends across nearly 650,000 acres and includes all of the leopard’s known breeding areas.
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SOURCE: Discovery News, Jennifer Viegas