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Emma: Female, born on June 30, 2002 at the Erie Zoological Gardens. She arrived at the Zoo from the Binghamton Zoo in New York on May 30, 2012
Kavan: Male, born on April 3, 2001 at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado. He arrived at the Zoo on July 31, 2012.
Emma and Kavan have been given a recommendation to breed by the AZA Amur Leopard Species Survival Plan.
You may find the Amur leopards in any of our middle habitats in First Niagara Big Cat Falls. They time share the Puma, Jaguar and Leopard exhibits with several of our other inhabitants at the Big Cat Falls area.
First Niagara Big Cat Falls
An Amur leopard’s fur is reddish-yellow in the summer and becomes lighter in the winter to blend in with the snow. The hairs of their pelt also change length from summer 0.5 inches(1.3 cm) - 2 inches (5.1 cm). In the winter season the length of their pelt is 3 inches (7.6 cm) in order to keep them warm. They have long legs which allow them to walk through the snow easily. Can you tell a jaguar, snow leopard and Amur leopard apart? All of them have spots, but an Amur leopard’s spots are widely spaced rosettes with thick borders.
Amur leopards have a typical lifespan of 17-18 years in zoos. Their lifespan in the wild is not known, but is likely to be shorter than in zoos.
Amur leopards reach sexual maturity at the age of 3. Breeding season is between January and February. The mother carries the babies for approximately 90-105 days. An average of one to six cub is born per litter. The cubs are weaned at 3 months, but remain with their mother until they are between 18-24 months old.
As with most cats, Amur leopards are solitary. In the wild, they hunt and eat alone. They are also primarily nocturnal so they may be less active when you see them at the Zoo during the day.
At First Niagara Big Cat Falls, you’ll notice the mesh at the top of the exhibit. There is a good reason for that! Amur leopards are very good climbers and will descend headfirst down a tree. They can leap 20 feet (609 cm) horizontally and 10 feet (304 cm) vertically. Amur leopards are also strong swimmers.
Head and body length are 3.5-4.5 ft (1.07-1.36 cm). They measure 25-30 in (64-78 cm) tall. Their tail measures 32-35 in (82-90 cm).
Males may weigh 70-105 pounds (32-48 kg) and females may weight between 55-94 pounds (25-43 kg).
In the wild, the primary prey of the Amur leopard are roe and sika deer, hares and badgers. At the Zoo, they are fed a diet that includes a commercial meat mix, solid beef and bones; the diet is formulated to meet the nutritional needs of each animal. A beef shank bone is offered once a week. In addition to food, the shank bones provide exercise for the animal’s jaw muscles.
The Amur leopard inhabits a small border area between northeastern Russia and China along the Amur-Ussuri region. The Amur river runs through this region.
On the 2013 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, the Amur leopard is listed as Critically Endangered.
The Philadelphia Zoo works with partners and colleagues around the world to save wildlife. From South America to Asia to Africa, these projects are conducting research, protecting habitat, educating communities and building capacity. We are proud to support them and the important work they do.
Amur leopards suffer from habitat loss, persecution by local villagers and depletion of prey sources due to over-hunting. Amur leopard populations number at 40, making them perhaps the most endangered large cat in the world.
Tigris Foundation programs support anti-poaching efforts, forest fire-fighting, population monitoring and habitat analysis among other measures needed to protect these magnificent cats.
Learn more about the conservation efforts at the Philadelphia Zoo.
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