Critically endangered leopard filmed in northeast China

April 18th, 2011 - 8:14 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, April 18 (IANS) A leopard, belonging to a critically endangered species, has been filmed for the first time in northeast China’s Jilin province, Xinhua quoted local authorities as saying Monday.

Just two to four Far Eastern leopards — also known as Amur leopard or Manchurian leopard — live in the forest of about 100,000 hectares near Hunchun city of China’s Jilin province. The number may change as some leopards sometimes cross the Sino-Russia border, says Lang Jianmin, head of the Promotion and Education Center for Hunchun Manchurian Tiger National Nature Reserve.

There are less than 50 Far Eastern leopards in the wild. The feline predators are native to the forests in northeast China, Russia’s Far East and North Korea, say experts.

Yu Changchun, head of the environment protection bureau under Jilin’s forestry department, said cameras on the Sino-Russia border captured a roaming Far Eastern leopard in Hunchun city April 13.

The leopard was first noticed through surveillance cameras by a soldier named Li Mingquan, said Yu, adding that animal carcasses, which could have been left by the leopard, were found near the spot a day later.

According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, an international organisation dedicated to finding pragmatic solutions to the most pressing environment and development challenges, the Far Eastern leopard, also known as Amur leopard or Manchurian leopard, faces an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild.

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