Just a few years ago, all hope was lost for the Amur leopards. But, a recent discovery shows the leopards are moving away from the brink of extinction.
In 2000, it was estimated that only about 30 Amur leopards remained in the wild. Poaching and habitat loss were their main threats and many people felt that all hope was lost for this magnificent species. Some conservationists suggested catching the last remaining Amur leopards and bringing them into captivity in an effort to ensure their survival.
People stepped into action and worked tirelessly to save the leopards!
Meanwhile, the World Wildlife Federation began the “Save each of the survivors” campaign in an effort to stop poaching and increase public awareness.
In 2012, the Russian government created the Land of the Leopard National Park. This park is about 647,000 acres and is prime leopard habitat. Park officials increased anti-poaching patrolling and worked to reforest areas that were previously destroyed by livestock grazing.
But That's Not All
In 2016, a 1,500-foot tunnel was built under a major highway in Russia so that the leopards could have a safer migration route.
Finally, All The Hard Work Paid Off
Land of the Leopard National Park officials announced in April, 2018 that the leopard population has increased to just over 100 individuals! Though they are still one of the world’s most endangered big cat species, this is an important step that has moved them further from the brink of extinction.