Leopard Animal Essay Ideas

For other uses, see Leopard (disambiguation), Leopards (disambiguation), and Leopardi (disambiguation).

The leopard (Panthera pardus) , also known as pard,[3] is one of the five species in the genusPanthera, a member of the Felidae.[4] The leopard occurs in a wide range in sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia and is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List because leopard populations are threatened by habitat loss and fragmentation, and are declining in large parts of the global range. In Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuwait, Syria, Libya, Tunisia and most likely in Morocco, leopard populations have already been extirpated.[2] Contemporary records suggest that the leopard occurs in only 25% of its historical global range.[5][6] Leopards are hunted illegally, and their body parts are smuggled in the wildlife trade for medicinal practices and decoration.[7][8]

Compared to other members of Felidae, the leopard has relatively short legs and a long body with a large skull. It is similar in appearance to the jaguar, but has a smaller, lighter physique. Its fur is marked with rosettes similar to those of the jaguar, but the leopard's rosettes are smaller and more densely packed, and do not usually have central spots as the jaguar's do. Both leopards and jaguars that are melanistic are known as black panthers. The leopard is distinguished by its well-camouflaged fur, opportunistic hunting behaviour, broad diet, and strength (which it uses to move heavy carcasses into trees), as well as its ability to adapt to various habitats ranging from rainforest to steppe, including arid and montane areas, and its ability to run at speeds of up to 58 kilometres per hour (36 mph).[9]

Fossil records suggest that in the Late Pleistocene it occurred in Europe and Japan.[10][11]

Etymology[edit]

The common name "leopard" [12] is a Greekcompound of λέωνleōn ("lion") and πάρδοςpardos ("male panther"). The name reflects the fact that in antiquity, a leopard was believed to be a hybrid of a lion and a panther. The Greek word is related to Sanskritपृदाकुpṛdāku ("snake", "tiger" or "panther"), and probably derives from a Mediterranean language, such as Egyptian.[13][14] The name was first used in the 13th century.[12] Other vernacular names for the leopard include graupanther, panther and several regional names such as tendwa in India.[15] The term "black panther" refers to leopards with melanisticgenes.[16] A term for the leopard used in Old English and later, but now very uncommon, is "pard".[17]

The scientific name of the leopard is Panthera pardus. The generic namePanthera derives from Latin via Greek πάνθηρ (pánthēr).[18] The term "panther", whose first recorded use dates back to the 13th century AD, generally refers to the leopard, and less often to the cougar and the jaguar.[16] Alternative origins suggested for Panthera include an Indo-Iranian word meaning "white-yellow" or "pale". In Sanskrit, this could have been derived from पाण्डर pāṇḍara ("tiger"), which in turn comes from पुण्डरीक puṇḍárīka (with the same meaning).[14][18] The specific namepardus is derived from the Greek πάρδος (pardos) ("male panther").[15]

Taxonomy[edit]

The leopard is one of the five extant species of the genusPanthera, which also includes the jaguar (P. onca), the lion (P. leo), the snow leopard (P. uncia) and the tiger (P. tigris). This genus, along with the genus Neofelis forms the subfamilyPantherinae.[23]

The leopard was first described by Swedish zoologist Carl Linnaeus in the 10th edition of Systema Naturae. Linnaeus named the leopard Felis pardus and placed it in the genus Felis along with the domestic cat, the jaguar, the Eurasian lynx, the lion, the ocelot and the tiger.[24] In the 18th and 19th centuries, most naturalists and taxonomists followed his example. In 1816, Lorenz Oken proposed a definition of the genus Panthera, with a subgenusPanthera using F. pardus as a type species. Oken's classification was not widely accepted, and Felis or Leopardus was used until the early 20th century.[25] In 1916, British zoologist Reginald Innes Pocock accorded Panthera generic rank based on Panthera pardus as the type species.[26]

Subspecies[edit]

Following Linnaeus's first description, 27 leopard subspecies were described by naturalists between 1794 and 1956. Since 1996, only eight subspecies have been considered valid on the basis of mitochondrial analysis.[27] Later analysis revealed a ninth valid subspecies, the Arabian leopard.[28]

The nine subspecies recognised by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) are summarised in the following table.[2][28][29] Since 2017, the Cat Classification Task Force of the Cat Specialist Group recognizes only eight subspecies and subsumed P. p. ciscaucasica to P. p. tulliana, and P. p. japonensis to P. p. orientalis.[4]

SubspeciesDescriptionImage
African leopard (P. p. pardus) (Linnaeus, 1758), syn.P. p. panthera (Schreber, 1777), P. p. leopardus (Schreber, 1777), P. p. melanotica (Gunther, 1885), P. p. suahelicus (Neumann, 1900), P. p. nanopardus (Thomas, 1904), P. p. ruwenzorii (Camerano, 1906), P. p. chui (Heller, 1913), P. p. reichenowi (Cabrera, 1918), P. p. antinorii (de Beaux, 1923), P. p. iturensis (Allen, 1924), P. p. adustaPocock, 1927, P. p. shortridgei Pocock, 1932, P. p. adersi Pocock, 1932[1]It lives in sub-Saharan Africa and is the most widespread leopard subspecies.[2]
  • North Africa: extinct in Algeria, Libya, and Tunisia; a relict population in Morocco and southeastern Egypt[30]
  • West Africa: Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo
  • East Africa: Burundi, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Rwanda, Uganda
  • Central Africa: Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Republic of the Congo,
  • Southern Africa: Angola, Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe
Indian leopard (P. p. fusca) (Meyer, 1794), syn. P. p. pernigra (Hodgson, 1863), P. p. millardi Pocock, 1930It is native to the Indian subcontinent: India, Nepal, Bhutan, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
Javan leopard (P. p. melas) (G. Cuvier, 1809)It is the only subspecies native to Indonesia and lives on Java. It is Critically Endangered.[2]
Arabian leopard (P. p. nimr) (Hemprich and Ehrenberg, 1833), syn. P. p. jarvisi Pocock, 1932It is the smallest leopard subspecies; adult females weigh about 18 kg (40 lb). It is native to the Arabian Peninsula: Saudi Arabia, Oman, Yemen, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. It is considered extinct in the Sinai Peninsula.[31]
Anatolian leopard (P. p. tulliana) (Valenciennes, 1856), syn. Persian leopard (P. p. ciscaucasica) (Satunin, 1914),[4]P. p. saxicolor Pocock, 1927, P. p. sindica Pocock, 1930, P. p. dathei Zukowsky, 1964Leopard populations persist in eastern Turkey, the Caucasus, Georgia, Armenia, southern Russia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and northern Iran.[2]

In southwestern Turkey, the leopard is extinct. The Balochistan leopard possibly evolved in southern Iran, southern Afghanistan and southwestern Pakistan, being separated from the northern population by the Dasht-e Kavir and Dasht-e Lut deserts.[29]

North-Chinese leopard (P. p. japonensis) (Gray, 1862)It is native to central and northern China, where today only small and isolated populations remain.[32]
Amur leopard (P. p. orientalis) (Schlegel, 1857)It lives in the cold regions of the Russian Far East and Northeast China and is Critically Endangered. It is currently extinct in the Korean Peninsula.[2]
Indochinese leopard (P. p. delacouri) Pocock, 1930It inhabits mainland Southeast Asia, including Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and South China.[2]
Sri Lankan leopard (P. p. kotiya) Deraniyagala, 1956It is native to Sri Lanka.

Large subspecies, in which males weigh up to 91 kg (201 lb), are the Sri Lankan leopard and the Anatolian leopard. Such larger leopards inhabit areas which lack tigers and lions, so that leopards are at the top of the food chain with no competitive restriction from large predators.[33]

Evolution and genetics[edit]

The last common ancestor of the Panthera and Neofelis species is believed to have occurred about 6.37 million years ago. The clouded leopard was the first to diverge from the rest of the Panthera lineage, followed by the snow leopard. The genus Panthera is believed to have emerged in Asia, from where they subsequently emigrated to Africa. The tiger-snow leopard clade diverged from the rest of Panthera around 2.9 million years ago.[21][22] Johnson and colleagues suggest that the leopard diverged next, and followed by the lion-jaguar clade.[19]

The diploid number of chromosomes in the leopard is 38, the same as in any other felid, save for the ocelot and the margay, whose diploid number of chromosomes is 36.[34] The chromosomes include four acrocentric, five metacentric, seven submetacentric and two telocentric pairs.[35]

The leopard is part of the Panthera lineage, one of the eight lineages of Felidae. This lineage comprises the species of Panthera and Neofelis. The clouded leopard diverged first from the lineage, followed by a clade consisting of the tiger and the snow leopard. Subsequent branching began two to three million years ago, but the details of this are disputed.[36] Results of phylogenetic studies based on nDNA and mtDNA analysis showed that the leopard is a sister taxon to a clade within Panthera consisting of the lion and the jaguar.[19][20] However, results of a different phylogenetic study revealed a swapping between the leopard and the jaguar in the cladogram.[21][22] Results of a 2001 phylogenetic analysis of chemical secretions amongst cats also suggested that the leopard is closely related to the lion.[37]

Fossils of ancestors of the leopard have been found in East Africa and South Asia, dating back to the Pleistocene between 2 and 3.5 million years ago. The modern leopard is suggested to have evolved in Africa 0.5 to 0.8 million years ago and to have radiated across Asia 0.2 to 0.3 million years ago.[28]

In Europe, the leopard is known at least since the Pleistocene. Fossil bones and teeth dating from the Pliocene were found in Perrier in France, northeast of London, and in Valdarno (Italy). Similar fossils dating back to the Pleistocene were excavated mostly in loess and caves at 40 sites in the continent - from near Lisbon, near Gibraltar, and Santander Province in northern Spain to several sites in France, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, Germany, in the north up to Derby in England, in the east to Přerov in the Czech Republic, and the Baranya in southern Hungary,[38] and in Biśnik Cave in south-central Poland.[39] The Pleistocene leopards of Europe can be divided into four subsequent subspecies. The first European leopard subspecies P. p. begoueni is known from the beginning of the early Pleistocene and was replaced about 0.6 million years ago by P. p. sickenbergi, which in turn was replaced by P. p. antiqua around 0.3 million years ago. The most recent form, the European Ice Age leopard (P. p. spelaea), appeared at the beginning of the Late Pleistocene and survived until about 24,000 years ago in several parts of Europe.[40]

Pleistocene fossils have also been excavated in the Japanese archipelago.[11]

Hybrids[edit]

Main article: Panthera hybrid

Crossbreeding between the leopard and the other members of the Panthera has been documented. In 1953, a lioness and a male leopard were mated in the Hanshin Park in Nishinomiya, Japan. The first litter from this pairing was born on 2 November 1959, consisting of a male and a female. Another litter was born in 1961, in which all the offspring were spotted and bigger than a juvenile leopard. The hybrid came to be known as "leopon". Unsuccessful attempts were made to mate a leopon with a tigress.[41]

Although lions and leopards may come into contact in sub-Saharan Africa, they are generally not known to interbreed naturally. However, there have been anecdotal reports of felids larger than the cheetah but smaller than the lion, with a lion-like face, from the Central African Republic, Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda. This animal, known as the marozi and by several other names, is covered with grayish spots or rosettes on the back, the flanks and the legs. However, there have been no confirmed sightings of the marozi since the 1930s.[42]

A pumapard is a hybrid animal resulting from a mating between a leopard and a puma (a member of the genus Puma, not the genus Panthera). Three sets of these hybrids were bred in the late 1890s and early 1900s by Carl Hagenbeck at his animal park in Hamburg, Germany. While most of these animals did not reach adulthood, one of these was purchased in 1898 by the Berlin Zoo. A similar hybrid in the Berlin Zoo purchased from Hagenbeck was a cross between a male leopard and a female puma. A specimen in the Hamburg Zoo (in the photo at right) was the reverse pairing, fathered by a puma bred to an Indian leopardess. The pumapard is characterised by a long body like the puma's, but with shorter legs. The hybrid is in general a dwarf, smaller than either parent. The coat is variously described as sandy, tawny or greyish with brown, chestnut or faded rosettes.[43]

Characteristics[edit]

The leopard is a big cat distinguished by its robust build and muscular but relatively shorter limbs, a broad head and a coat covered by spots arranged in rosettes. Males stand 60–70 cm (24–28 in) at the shoulder, while females are 57–64 cm (22–25 in) tall. The head-and-body length is typically between 90 and 190 cm (35 and 75 in). While males weigh 37–90 kg (82–198 lb), females weigh 28–60 kg (62–132 lb);[44][45] these measurements vary geographically.[15] The maximum recorded weight for a leopard is 96.5 kilograms (213 lb).[46][47]Sexually dimorphic, males are larger and heavier than females.[48]

Basically pale yellow to yellowish brown or golden (except for the melanistic forms), the coat is spotted and rosetted; spots fade toward the white underbelly and the insides and lower parts of the legs. Rosettes are most prominent on the back, flanks and hindquarters.[48] The pattern of the rosettes is unique to each individual.[49][50][51] Juveniles have woolly fur, and appear dark due to the densely arranged spots.[44] The white-tipped tail, 60–100 centimetres (24–39 in) long, white underneath, displays rosettes except toward the end, where the spots form incomplete bands.[48][49]

The texture and colour of the fur varies by climate and geography; leopards in forests are observed to be darker than those in deserts.[49] The guard hairs (the layer of hairs that protect the basal hairs) are the shortest (3–4 millimetres (0.12–0.16 in)) on the face and the head, and increase in length toward the flanks and the underparts (25–30 millimetres (0.98–1.18 in)). The fur is generally soft and thick; the fur on the underparts is notably softer than that on the back.[51] A few geographical variations have been noted in the colour and texture of the fur. Leopards in forests tend to be darker than those in deserts;[48] the fur tends to grow longer in populations living in colder climates.[15] The rosettes, circular in eastern African populations, tend to be squarish in southern Africa and larger in Asian populations. Their yellow coat tends to be more pale and cream coloured in desert populations, more gray in colder climates, and of a darker golden hue in rainforest habitats.[9]

The leopard is often confused with the cheetah; however, the cheetah is marked with small round spots instead of the larger rosettes.[52] Moreover, the leopard lacks the facial tear streaks characteristic of the cheetah.[53] Other similar species are the clouded leopard and jaguar. The clouded leopard can be told apart by the diffuse "clouds" of spots compared to the smaller and distinct rosettes of the leopard, longer legs and thinner tail.[54] The jaguar has rosettes that typically have spots within them, while those of leopards often do not. Moreover, the jaguar has larger and rounder foot pads and a larger skull.[15]

Variant colouration[edit]

Main article: Black panther

Melanistic leopards are known, like melanistic jaguars, as "black panthers". Pseudomelanism (abundism) also occurs in leopards.[55] Melanism in leopards is inherited as a trait relatively recessive to the spotted form.[56] Interbreeding in melanistic leopards produces a significantly smaller litter size than is produced by normal pairings.[57]

The black panther is common in the equatorial rainforest of the Malay Peninsula and the tropical rainforest on the slopes of some African mountains such as Mount Kenya.[58] Between January 1996 and March 2009, Indochinese leopards were photographed at 16 sites in the Malay Peninsula in a sampling effort of more than 1000 camera trap nights. Of the 445 photographs of melanistic leopards, 410 came from study sites south of the Kra Isthmus, where the non-melanistic morph was never photographed. This data suggests the near fixation of the dark allele in the region. The expected time for the fixation of this recessive allele due to genetic drift alone ranged from about 1,100 years to about 100,000 years.[59][60] Pseudomelanism has also been reported in leopards.[61]

Leopards exhibiting erythrism have been very rarely reported.[62] This form is known as the 'strawberry' leopard due to its coloration, caused by a little-understood genetic condition that causes either an overproduction of red pigments or an underproduction of dark pigments.[63] A review of the literature showed that there are five historic records from India, and a further seven records in the past two decades from South Africa, with the first photographed in South Africa's Madikwe Game Reserve.[62]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

The leopard has the largest distribution of all wild cats, occurring widely in Africa as well as eastern and southern Asia, although populations have shown a declining trend,[6] and are fragmented outside of sub-Saharan Africa. Within sub-Saharan Africa, the species is still numerous and even thriving in marginal habitats where other large cats have disappeared, although there is considerable potential for human-leopard conflict due to leopards predating livestock.[65] Populations in North Africa may be extinct.[9] Data on their distribution in Asia are not consistent. Populations in southwest and central Asia are small and fragmented; in the northeast, they are critically endangered. In the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia, and China, leopards are still relatively abundant. Of the species as a whole, its numbers are greater than those of other Panthera species, all of which face more acute conservation concerns.[2][66]

Leopards are exceptionally adaptable, although associated primarily with savanna and rainforest. Populations thrive anywhere in the species range where grasslands, woodlands, and riverine forests remain largely undisturbed. In the Russian Far East, they inhabit temperate forests where winter temperatures reach a low of −25 °C (−13 °F).[28] They are equally adept surviving in some of the world's most humid rainforests and even semi-arid desert edges.

Leopards in west and central Asia avoid deserts and areas with long snow cover and areas close to urban centres.[66] In India, leopard populations sometimes live quite close to human settlements and even in semi-developed areas.[67] Although occasionally adaptable to human disturbances, leopards require healthy prey populations and appropriate vegetative cover for hunting for prolonged survival and thus rarely linger in heavily developed areas.[66][67] Due to the leopard's superlative stealthiness, people often remain unaware that big cats live in nearby areas.[67]

Ecology and behaviour[edit]

Leopards, like lions and tigers,[68][69] tend to be nocturnal (active mainly at night).[70][71] However, leopards in western African forests have been observed to be largely diurnal and hunt during twilight, when their prey animals are active; activity patterns may even vary by season.[72] Leopards generally are active mainly from dusk till dawn, and rest for most of the day and for some hours at night in thickets, among rocks or over tree branches. Leopards have been observed walking 1–25 kilometres (0.62–15.53 mi) across their range at night; they may even wander up to 75 kilometres (47 mi) if disturbed.[44][45]

Leopards are known for their ability to climb and have been observed resting on tree branches during the day, dragging their kills up trees and hanging them there, and descending from trees headfirst.[73] They are powerful swimmers, although are not as disposed to swimming as some other big cats, such as the tiger. They are very agile, and can run at over 58 kilometres per hour (36 mph), leap over 6 metres (20 ft) horizontally, and jump up to 3 metres (9.8 ft) vertically.[74]

Social spacing[edit]

The leopard is solitary and territorial, as are several other felids; individuals associate appreciably only in the mating season, though mothers may continue to interact with their offspring even after weaning. Mothers have been observed sharing kills with their offspring when they can not obtain any meal.[44] In Kruger National Park, most leopards tend to keep 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) apart.[45] Fathers may interact with their partners and cubs at times and exceptionally this can extend beyond to two generations.[76][77] Aggressive encounters are rare, typically limited to defending territories from intruders.[15] In a South African reserve, a male was wounded in a male–male territorial battle over a carcass.[78] A few instances of cannibalism have been reported.[79][80]

Leopards communicate with each other in tall grass using white spots on their ears and tails.[75] They also produce a number of vocalisations, including growls, snarls, meows and purrs.[44] The roaring sequence in leopards consists mainly of grunts and is also known called "sawing", having been described as resembling the sound of sawing wood.[81][44] Cubs are known to call their mother with a urr-urr sound.[44]

Males occupy territories that often overlap with a few smaller female territories, probably as a strategy to enhance access to females. A radio-collar analysis in the Ivory Coast found a female home range completely enclosed within a male's.[82] Female live with their cubs in territories that overlap extensively – probably due to the association between mothers and their offspring. There may be a few other fluctuating territories, belonging to young individuals. It is not clear if male territories tend to overlap among themselves as much as those of females do. Individuals will try to drive away intruders of the same sex.[44][45]

A study of leopards in the Namibian farmlands showed that the size of territories was not significantly affected by sex, rainfall patterns or season; it concluded that the higher the prey availability in an area, the greater the population density of leopards and the smaller the size of territories, but territories tend to expand if there is human interference (which has been notably high in the study area).[83] Territorial sizes vary geographically; they can be as small as 33–38 square kilometres (13–15 sq mi) for males and 14–16 square kilometres (5.4–6.2 sq mi) for females in forests and rocky terrain (such as in the Serengeti or Kruger National Park),[84][85] or as large as 451 square kilometres (174 sq mi) for males and 188 square kilometres (73 sq mi) for females in northeastern Namibia[86] (they might be even larger in deserts and montane areas).[15] Territories recorded in Nepal, 48 square kilometres (19 sq mi) for males and 5–7 square kilometres (1.9–2.7 sq mi) for females, are smaller than those generally observed in Africa.[87]

Hunting and diet[edit]

The leopard depends mainly on its acute sense of hearing and vision for hunting.[88] It primarily hunts at night in most areas.[44] In western African forests and Tsavo National Park, leopards have been also observed hunting by day.[89]

The leopard is a carnivore that prefers medium-sized prey with a body mass ranging from 10–40 kg (22–88 lb). Prey species in this weight range tend to occur in dense habitat and to form small herds. Species that prefer open areas and developed significant anti-predator strategies are less preferred. More than 100 prey species were recorded. Impala, Thomson's gazelle, duiker, steenbok, bushbuck, warthog, water chevrotain, blue wildebeest, sitatunga, Bates's pygmy antelope, aardvark, nyala, and kudu are frequently taken in Africa, and chital, muntjac, sambar, four-horned antelope, deer, Nilgiri tahr, gaur and wild boar in Asia. Primate prey species preyed upon include Colobus, Mangabey, Cercopithecus, langur, and less frequently also gorilla and baboon. Small mammals preyed upon include black-backed jackal, Cape fox, African civet, genets, hares, porcupine, rock hyrax[90] Prey as heavy as a 550 kg (1,210 lb) giraffe is hunted if larger carnivores such as lions or tigers are absent.[91] The largest prey killed by a leopard was reportedly a male eland weighing 900 kg (2,000 lb).[92]

The leopard stalks the prey and tries to approach as close as possible, typically within 5 m (16 ft) to the target, and finally pounces on it and kills it by suffocation. It kills small prey with a bite on the back of the neck, but holds larger animals by the throat and strangles them.[44][45] It is able to take large prey due to its massive skull and powerful jaw muscles, and is therefore strong enough to drag carcasses heavier than itself up into trees; an individual was seen to haul a young giraffe, weighing nearly 125 kg (276 lb), up 5.7 m (19 ft) into a tree.[89] Kills are cached up to 2 km (6,600 ft) apart.[76] Small prey is eaten immediately, while larger carcasses are dragged over several hundred metres and safely cached in trees, bushes or even caves to be consumed later. The way the kill is stored depends on local topography and individual preferences; while trees are preferred in Kruger National Park, bushes are preferred in the plain terrain of the Kalahari.[15][93]

Analysis of leopard scat in Taï National Park revealed that primates except chimpanzee and potto are primary leopard prey during the day.[94] In a reserved forest of southern India, species preyed upon by leopard, dhole and striped hyena overlapped considerably.[95]

A study at Wolong Reserve in China demonstrated variation in the leopards' diet over time; over the course of seven years, the vegetative cover receded, and leopards opportunistically shifted from primarily consuming tufted deer to pursuing bamboo rats and other smaller prey.[96] A study estimated average daily consumption rates at 3.5 kg (7.7 lb) for males and 2.8 kg (6.2 lb) for females.[97] A study in the southern Kalahari showed that leopards met their water requirements by the bodily fluids of prey and succulent plants; they drink water every two to three days, and feed infrequently on moisture-rich plants such as gemsbok cucumbers (Acanthosicyos naudinianus), tsamma melon (Citrullus lanatus) and Kalahari sour grass (Schmidtia kalahariensis).[98] A few instances of cannibalism have been reported.[79]

Predation on bear cubs in Asia has been reported. [99] Sub-adult giant pandas weighing up to 50 kg (110 lb) may also be vulnerable to predation by leopards.[100]

Enemies and competitors[edit]

Leopards must compete for food and shelter with other large predators such as tigers, lions, cheetahs, spotted hyenas, striped hyenas, brown hyenas, up to five species of bear and both African and Asiatic wild dogs. These animals may steal the leopard's kill, devour its young or even kill adult leopards. Leopards co-exist alongside these other large predators by hunting for different types of prey and by avoiding areas frequented by them. Leopards may also retreat up a tree in the face of direct aggression from other large carnivores but leopards have been seen to either kill or prey on competitors such as black-backed jackal, caracal, African wild cat and the cubs of lions, cheetahs, hyenas, and wild dogs.[101][9]

Resource partitioning occurs where leopards share their range with tigers. Leopards tend to take smaller prey, usually less than 75 kg (165 lb), where tigers are present.[9] In areas where the leopard is sympatric with the tiger, coexistence is reportedly not the general rule, with leopards being few where tigers are numerous.[102]

Two cladograms proposed for Panthera. The upper cladogram is based on the 2006 and 2009 studies,[19][20] while the other is based on the 2010 and 2011 studies.[21][22]
Map of approximate distribution of leopard subspecies
A leopard and her cub on the tree in the Serengeti savanna.
Leopard resting on a tree

Leopard visual communication

Female showing white spots on the back of the ears (ocelli) used to communicate with other leopards.[75]

Female leopard showing the white spot on the tail used for communicating with cubs while hunting or in long grass.[75]

Stages of leopard hunting prey

Stalking

Dragging kill

Caching kill in a tree

Lioness stealing a leopard kill

Critically Endangered Species: Amur Leopard Essay

653 Words3 Pages

Habitat destruction, deforestation, ozone depletion, global warming, and poaching. These actions and ecological happenings are creating a world where animals are going extinct at rapid rates. Our world is on the brink of what scientists believe is the sixth mass extinction. Unlike the five previous mass extinction, the latest one killing a majority of the dinosaurs, the main causes for this current extinction are anthropogenic reasons, not natural events.
Scientists calculate that without humans about one to five species would die a year, which is considered the background rate of extinction. But in our current society human activities are destroying many of the chances these animals need to survive. We as a planet are killing species at…show more content…

Habitat destruction, deforestation, ozone depletion, global warming, and poaching. These actions and ecological happenings are creating a world where animals are going extinct at rapid rates. Our world is on the brink of what scientists believe is the sixth mass extinction. Unlike the five previous mass extinction, the latest one killing a majority of the dinosaurs, the main causes for this current extinction are anthropogenic reasons, not natural events.
Scientists calculate that without humans about one to five species would die a year, which is considered the background rate of extinction. But in our current society human activities are destroying many of the chances these animals need to survive. We as a planet are killing species at a rate 1,000 to 10,000 times more than the expected rate. Unlike previous extinctions 99% of the species, listed on the endangered species list, established by the endangered species act, became threatened due to human activities, such as the introduction of invasive species, habitat destruction, and global warming (The Extinction Crisis).
What can we do to stop this? How can we save the very animals we have endangered and threatened?
The Species Survival Plan: The AZA, Associations of Zoos and Aquariums, have set up a worldwide system to attempt to save these very threatened animals. The program is called the Species Survival Plan. As part of the species survival plan, zoos and aquariums in conjunction with AZA follow a system of rules

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