Rare Photos of Amur Leopard Captured

Created: 2011-10-13 11:34 EST

Category: Life


Researchers say that they have recently captured two clear photos of the endangered amur leopard in a forest in northeast China's Jilin Province. It’s the first time Chinese professional researchers have got photos of the rare animal since 1949.

The amur leopard, one of the world's most endangered large cats, has been spotted in a forest in the province's Yanbian prefecture, according to a doctoral candidate at Peking University named Sun Ge. Automatic infrared cameras were set up in the forest to capture images of the animal.

Sun and his assistant set up 40 cameras three months ago, returning to collect photos every twenty days. One of the cameras managed to capture the animal on September 19 in Wangqing County, which borders Russia and North Korea.

Sun's work is part of a field research project jointly sponsored by Jilin's provincial forest authorities and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

China's frontier guard troop previously took pictures of the amur leopard on April 13 this year in the Huichun Nature Reserve in Yanbian, according to the WWF.

The total number of amur leopards living in the wild is believed to be less than 50 worldwide, with about ten living in China.

The number was arrived at from interviewing researchers, as no systematic field research concerning the animals has ever been conducted in China.

The species used to be more widely distributed, but shrunk later due to a lack of prey, environmental damage and poaching.

A nature reserve in Wangqing County will play an important role in future protection work for the amur leopard, as it is the most important habitat for the leopard and may be the first habitat for female tigers from the Russian forest.

The Jilin Forestry Department is planning to establish a habitat on Changbaishan Mountain for Siberian tigers, while the Wangqing Provincial Nature Reserve will be promoted to national reserve status, both of which will provide better living conditions for the amur leopard.