Snailing slowly through the snowy hills, the Amur leopard gazes at its prey in the trees. In the shady clearing below, a deer named Sika consumes tree bark, one of its only food sources during the harsh Russian winter. The leopard crouches with its body so low the belly of its fur smacks the snow. Then it leaps up and jumps forward, taking on the deer from ten feet away. It’s dinnertime.


The majority of people think of leopards roaming through the Savannahs of Africa. However, spotted predators are found in a variety of locations in a variety of ecosystems. Amur leopards can be seen in the forests of the mountains that lie in the eastern part of Russia along with northwestern China. Named in honor of their name, the Amur River, a body of water flowing along the borders of both countries, the cats can adapt well to this harsh climate. Their thick, soft fur helps keep them warm in frigid temperatures, and their big paws function as snowshoes to allow them to walk on the snow and not sink.

Amur leopards weigh around 80 pounds, 30 pounds less than a typical African leopard. However, these felines can devour prey that is triple their weight. They are more likely to eat boar and deer. However, they will also eat mice and rabbits when they cannot find more giant game. Scientists have often called Amur leopards the “silent killer” since they’re adept at sneaking up on their prey.


The loss of habitat and poaching has caused Amur leopards to be among the most rare animals on earth and the most sought-after leopard in the world. In part, thanks to a recently established national park between the Russians along the Russian and Chinese border, Amur leopards are clawing to return. Since the 647,400-acre sanctuary named Land of the Leopard National Park was established in 2012,, The Amur Leopard population increased to around 80 in 2018, from just 30 during the 2000s. Officials believe that an effective law enforcement system within the park will maintain the growth of the population. Therefore, we hope that more leopards can be seen soon.


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