amur leopard

The Amur Leopard is one of the most endangered big cats in the world.  According to Xinhua (copied at ALTA -photo credit Xinhua) the above leopard was discovered  in Changbai Mountain in Wangqing county in April this year and is only the third time since 1949 that a leopard has been seen in this area – the previous times were in 2011.

At one time leopards were found throughout the peninsula – one big cat even climbed the wall of the German legation in Seoul during the 1880s and wandered around the compound.  There are several pictures of the American gold miners in northern Korea in the early 20th century with dead leopards.

The Amur Leopard is not the only big cat in the north threatened by extinction.  According to ALTA – there are only 80 wild Amur Tigers left in Russia.  Their demise is partially due to loss of habitat and continued poaching:

“Russia must strictly protect the tiger’s habitat, stop the barbaric and illegal destruction of the forest and implement a rigorous anti-poaching campaign, both against tiger-hunters and those hunting their prey,” she said. Russian law does not punish poachers caught in possession of tiger pelts, or other animal parts, she added.

In August 2012, Primorye police confiscated eight tiger skins from the head of a band of poachers but could only prosecute him for arms possession offences, she explained.