Leopard

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photo courtesy of IUCN-World Conservation Union Website

The leopard (scientific name Panthera pardus ) is known as one of the most agile and powerful large cats in the world. Since there are over twenty subspecies of leopards, the information on this page is general for all subspecies.

Description Habitat Danger Programs Resources
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Description:

  • The average length of leopards is between 5 to 8 feet and the weight could be up to 200 pounds. The leopard is most closely related to the jaguar in the cat world. Their coats are light or reddish-brown, yellow, and white in color with dark spots. These dark spots vary in size according to the region of habitat. The average life expectancy is 15 to 20 years in the wild. The litters consist of one to two cubs at a time. The cubs have wooly coats with lighter spots than the adults. The black panther is commonly a leopard with darker coloration. The leopard's tail is long and thick with some (snow leopard for example) tails as long as the body.

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Habitat:

  • Leopards have been found throughout Africa and Asia. They live in areas like rocky hillsides, tropical forests, brush lands and even the Himalayas. Leopards prefer trees, climbing them for protection and for observation platforms. In many regions, the leopard stores its kill in treetops so other predators such as lions do not steal it. The Snow Leopard is scarce and found mostly in Central Asian mountains.
    Leopards are carnivorous which means their primary prey are animals like mountain sheep, but they also eats small mammals and birds and even insects. Usually they stalk their prey and then they can spring from 20-50 feet away to catch it. They are solitary animals, and are most active in early morning, late afternoon and evening.

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Danger:

  • The main danger for the leopard is loss of habitat, pollution, and illegal poaching (killing it) for its beautiful coat. Another danger to all wild animals, especially big cats is illegal breeding and selling of them as pets. Once the young cats are grown, they are still wild animals and cause problems with their owners. Then they are usually killed just because they are acting the way nature intended them to.
    The Snow Leopard is one of the rarest, along with the Clouded Leopard.

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Programs:

  • *The American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA) Snow Leopard Species Survival PlanŠ (SSP), started in 1984, has been successful in meeting its breeding goals for the Snow Leopard.
    http://www.umich.edu/~esupdate/library/97.11-12/wharton.html 

    *The International Snow Leopard trust has a strong conservation program going to help save snow leopards from becoming extinct:
    http://www.snowleopard.org  

    *The Roar Foundation/Shambala Preserve is a sanctuary for big cats like the leopard. It also promotes adoption of these captive animals and also programs in government which provide protection for them:
    http://www.shambala.org/  

Resources:

  • Books:
    * Amazing Animals by the Editors of Time-Life Books
    Time-Life Books, copyright 1990
    * The Fight For Survival- Animals in Their Natural Habitats 
    by Peter Brazaitis and Myrna Watanabe, 
    Michael Friedman Publishing Group, copyright 1994
    * Tiger Tales and Big Cat Stories by Deborah Chancellor
    DK Publishing, copyright 2000
    * Will We Miss Them? Endangered Species by Alexander Wright, Charlesbridge Publishing, copyright 1992
  • Websites:
    * National Wildlife Federation:
    http://www.nwf.org
    * Cyber Zoomobile:
    http://www.primenet.com/~brendel/leopard.html
    * Race for the Big Cats:
    http://bigcats.care2.com/r3_fun3.html
  • Graphics:
    * Logo at top: Some of the animals (mountain lion, manatee, and grizzly bear came from Corel Web Graphics (1996) and Corel Draw Version 9 (2000). The leopard is from
    IUCN-World Conservation Union Website, ghost bat is copyright(c) Perth Zoo, Western Australia, ocelot is courtesy of Tom Smylie of United States Fish and Wildlife Service and Texas Parks and Wildlife Service, bald eagle (both in logo and at top ) courtesy of Pomegranate Calendars, "Spirit of America", Shaefer & Hill
    * Side bar logo is from Power Point 2000.

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Animation:

We made a clay animation movie of the leopard. 

View the animation as RealPlayer streaming movie
Open the animation as RealPlayer movie (offline)
Get Real Player free here: 

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