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One of the world’s rarest big cats found badly wounded in the Far East of Russia

04 March 2019

Vets fight for life of the young male Amur leopard.

Currently there are 86 grown up cats and 21 cubs and adolescents living in the Far East of Russia. Picture: Land of the Leopard Nature Reserve

The two and a half year old feline was likely injured in a fight for a female, or in a territorial dispute, by a rival leopard, said experts of the Land of the Leopard Nature Reserve. 

Veterinary surgeons have been battling to save the cat’s life since the animal was shot with a tranquilliser two days ago, and rushed to a Rare Big Cats Rehabilitation Centre in the village of Alekseevka. 

The emaciated animal had multiple inflamed wounds on his chest, abdomen and neck, a broken front paw and muscle atrophy of the hind leg. 

The vets carried out surgery and started antibiotics treatment; the animal is still in a bad state, though he returned to consciousness. 

The type and size of injuries rule out an Amur tiger, bear or dogs as ‘suspects’, said the Far Eastern experts. 

One of the world’s rarest big cats found badly wounded in the Far East of Russia 


One of the world’s rarest big cats found badly wounded in the Far East of Russia 


One of the world’s rarest big cats found badly wounded in the Far East of Russia 


One of the world’s rarest big cats found badly wounded in the Far East of Russia 
One of the world's rarest big cats got wounded by another leopard. Pictures: Land of the Leopard Nature Reserve


The most likely attacker was another leopard with the argument being either over a female or territory.

‘The leopard would not have survived if it was left in the woods. During the surgery vets found fresh wounds and scars over old injuries, which means he was in a series of fights and was likely very weak by the time he got into the most recent argument’, said the rehabilitation centre’s zoologist Ekaterina Blidchenko. 

The Far Eastern (Amur) leopard is the world’s rarest big cat. 

These predators live exclusively in the south-east of the Primorsky region and on a small area in China close to  the border with Russia. 

One of the world’s rarest big cats found badly wounded in the Far East of Russia 


One of the world’s rarest big cats found badly wounded in the Far East of Russia 


One of the world’s rarest big cats found badly wounded in the Far East of Russia 

The wounded leopard pictured during the medical check up, and after the surgery. Land of the Leopard Nature Reserve


The core population is under the protection of the Land of the Leopard Nature Reserve, established by the Russian government to seek to save the endangered species from extinction.  

Currently there are 86 grown up cats and 21 cubs and adolescents, according to photo trap monitoring. While the number is small, it is far larger than two decades ago, and the species is seen as slowly recovering yet it remains separately vulnerable. 

Around a century ago, these leopards populated all of the Korean peninsula and two provinces of China. 

Comments (6)

To my own humble opinion, these wounds are typical from fighting a wild boar (the leopard's natural prey). Our hunting dogs over here in Europe take exactly the same wounds from the sharp tusks, placed on chest, neck, belly and front legs. Sometimes their bellies are ripped open completely, but almost all over our dogs survive these bad wounds, when treated by experienced vets in time.

Wild boar hunting takes place mainly in the fall and winter season, when the danger of infections to the open wounds is low. The broken front paw of the leopard indicates, that the attacked animal was heavier than him. The older scars at the same spots show, that he has tried it before and is still learning the art of pig hunting.
- He will make it. This tough critter is very robust and he is in good hands !
Jan Haman , Germany
09/03/2019 18:39
4
0
Thank you to the caring people who are trying to save this rare leopard's life. He deserves every chance to live in freedom. I hope he heal well. Humans need to take care of the animals on our planet.
Marlene Russell, United States
08/03/2019 20:31
7
0
thank God there are still caring and compassionate people around!
Benedikt Morak, Moscow
05/03/2019 20:17
12
0
Thank goodness he was found. Sounds like he would have died in pain on his own otherwise.
Kerri Hudson, Australia
05/03/2019 17:26
14
0
Bien por el equipo de conservacion
Juan Ruiz Lopez, España
05/03/2019 02:37
9
0
Well done!! Please continue preserve this unique species.
Matthew Tabone, Malta
04/03/2019 16:45
18
0
1

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