Amur leopard donations
Ten times more endangered than the Amur tiger, it is estimated that only about 30 Amur leopards are left in the wild. And they might just become the first big cat ever to be reintroduced using zoo animals!
The remaining wild leopards are in such a tiny population that they are at risk from diseases, natural disasters like fires, and problems caused by inbreeding. So, as well as protecting the existing leopards and monitoring their numbers, the Amur Leopard and Tiger Alliance (ALTA) , which is coordinated by ZSL, is planning for a possible reintroduction of Amur leopards, from zoos, into a nature reserve where they used to live in the first half of last century.
This has never been done before! And it will not be easy. For example, just one of the things that needs doing is to find out what wildlife diseases are present in the potential release area, as well as checking the health of the zoo leopards which might breed young cats for release.
We have to ensure that any released leopards don’t immediately catch something they have no immunity to! And we also need to be sure they won’t bring in any diseases that would affect the existing wildlife such as the Amur tigers already living there.
ZSL’s vet Misha Goncharuk is working with wildlife biologist Linda Kerley to collect samples from wild and domestic animals for testing. They are also regularly monitoring the tiger population in Lazovsky Reserve (the potential release area) and working hard to stop poaching and raise awareness to protect not only the tiger, but also to make it safe for the leopards’ return.
You can help ZSL’s team ensure a future for Amur leopards.