Rarest leopardess brutally killed in Russia
Rhett A. Butler, mongabay.com
April 23, 2007
WWF reports that a female Far Eastern leopard (Panthera pardus orientalis) was found brutally killed in Russia. The Far Eastern or Amur leopard is the world’s rarest cat with a wild population numbering 25-34 individuals.
“The killing of even one female is a huge loss for a cat on the brink of extinction,” said Darron Collins, managing director of the Amur-Heilong Program, World Wildlife Fund. “This year’s census showed a desperate situation, with just seven female Amur leopards left in the wild and four rearing cubs. Now we’ve lost a mature, reproductive leopardess and her potential cubs in a senseless killing. This is the third leopard killed within this area over the last five years and underscores the desperate need for a unified protected area with national park status if the leopard is to survive in the wild.”
Anonymous tips led two leopard anti-poaching squads to the body of the butchered leopardess near Bamburovo village, Russia. She had been shot and bludgeoned to death with a heavy object.
Photo courtesy of WWF
The discovery comes just days after WWF announced the results of a census that found Amur tiger populations at the brink of extinction. The cat is threatened by encroachment, poaching, habitat loss, and road construction, says WWF.