Study finds 84 highly endangered Amur leopards remain in China and Russia

July 13, 2018

VLADIVOSTOK, Russia, (July 13, 2018) - Scientists estimate there are only 84 remaining highly endangered Amur leopards (Panthera pardus orientalis) remaining in the wild across its current range along the southernmost border of Primorskii Province in Russia and Jilin Province of China.

This new estimate of the Amur leopard population was recently reported in the scientific journal, Conservation Letters by scientists from China, Russia, and the United States. The scientists combined forces to collate information from camera traps on both sides of the border of China and Russia to derive the estimate. Because there are no records of leopards in other parts of its former range, this estimate represents the total global population of this subspecies in the wild.

Although numbers are small, previous estimates in Russia were even less, ranging from 25 to 50 individuals. However, those surveys, based on tracks left in the snow, were extremely difficult to interpret due to the unclear relationship between numbers of tracks and number of individuals. With camera traps, each individual can be identified by its unique spot pattern, providing a much more precise estimate.

Combining data from both countries increased precision of the estimate, and provided greater accuracy. Surprisingly, about one-third of the leopards were photographed on both sides of the Sino-Russian border.

Anya Vitkalova, a biologist at Land of the Leopard National Park in Russia, and one of the two lead authors of the publication said: "We knew that leopards moved across the border, but only by combining data were we able to understand how much movement there really is."

Despite the movement, there were differences in population dynamics in Russia versus China. Leopards are currently recolonizing habitat in China by dispersing from the Russian side, where leopard numbers appear to be close to the maximum that can be supported.

Because of these transboundary movements of leopards, simply adding results from both sides would have greatly exaggerated the estimate.

Dale Miquelle, a co-author and Tiger Program Coordinator for the Wildlife Conservation Society noted: "This first rigorous estimate of the global population of the Amur leopard represents an excellent example of the value of international collaboration. The trust and goodwill generated by this joint effort lays the foundation for future transboundary conservation actions."
-end-
Financial support was provided by ANO Far Eastern Leopards, ALTA, the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31210103911, 31200410, 31470566, 31421063 and 31270567), the National Scientific and Technical Foundation Project of China (2012FY112000), the National Key Research and Development Program, the Wildlife Conservation Society, and the Liz Claiborne and Art Ortenburg Foundation.

The WCS Russia Program works to protect the extensive forest and tundra ecosystems of the Russian Far East and the myriad species whose survival depends on these intact, functional ecosystems. We use science as a foundation for designing and implementing appropriate conservation actions for numerous species of wildlife, including Amur tigers, Far Eastern leopards, Kamchatka brown bears, and Blakiston's fish owls. We focus on key species and critical landscapes as a means to achieve biodiversity conservation throughout the region.

Wildlife Conservation Society

Related China Articles from Brightsurf:

China 2050: How the US should prepare for an ascendant China -- RAND Report
New RAND report says US should prepare for a triumphant or ascending People's Republic of China -- scenarios that not only align with current PRC national development trends but also represent the most challenging future scenarios for the US military.

The GDP fudge: China edition
By linking GDP growth to promotions, the Chinese government has inadvertently created incentives for provincial officials to report inaccurate financial data, a study says.

Opportunity blows for offshore wind in China
If China is to meet and exceed its Paris Climate Agreement goal by 2030, it's going to need to find a way to increase its wind capacity.

Cesarean delivery rates in China
This study assessed changes between 2008 and 2018 in the rate of cesarean deliveries in China.

Environmental pollution in China begins decreasing
For decades pollution in China has paralleled economic growth. But this connection has been weakened in recent years, according to a new international research study published in the Science Advances journal.

Farming for natural profits in China
Expanding monoculture threatens valuable services from land, such as flood control, water purification and climate stabilization.

Cardiovascular disease in China
This study analyzed data from the Global Burden of Disease Study to look at the rate of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in China along with death and disability from CVD from 1990 to 2016.

New integrative stratigraphy and timescale for China released
A special issue, edited by professor SHEN Shuzhong and professor RONG Jiayu of the Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, summarizes the latest advances in stratigraphy and timescale as well as discusses the correlation among different blocks in China and with international timescales.

Cambrian integrative stratigraphy and timescale of China
The review paper briefly summarizes the historical narrative of the present international chronostratigraphic framework of the Cambrian System and recent advances and problems of the undefined Cambrian stage GSSPs, in particular the authors challenge the global correlation of the GSSP for the Cambrian base, in addition to Cambrian chemostratigraphy and geochronology.

What causes extreme heat in North China?
A collaborative research team from China has published a new analysis that shows the horizontal heat flux in the mixed layer plays a crucial role in extreme heat events in the North China Plain region.

Read More: China News and China Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.