Interference with the harmonious order of the ecosystem greatly affects all entities in the system negatively and has led to the extinction of some creatures while others like Amur Leopard are on the brink of extinction. Imbalance in the ecosystem is largely attributed to human abusive activities which include industrial pollution and desertification pursued in an attempt to sustain the rapid population growth. Amur Leopard is one of the most endangered species whose numbers have been gradually diminishing over the years due to poaching and other factors related to environmental destruction yet just like all entities in the ecosystem is valuable. This creates the need to take drastic measures to prevent the species existence on earth from becoming history one day. This paper explores Amur Leopard in terms of the requirements for its habitat, species that it interacts with, and its food and growing conditions. Factors contributing to the threat against Amur Leopard’s survival and conservation measures are also looked into extensively.
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Amur Leopards also referred to as the Korean Leopards, Manchurian Leopards or the Far East Leopards are subspecies of leopards that reside mainly in the forest and mountain rangers and are currently just found in the northeastern part of China. The Amur Leopards are interesting species of wild animals with an approximate speed of 37 miles per hour, capable of jumping up to 19 feet horizontally and 10 feet vertically, are slightly smaller in size with the males being larger than the females, and have longer limbs compared to other leopard species adapted for walking through snow. The animals tend to have a life span of about 10-15 years for the ones in the wild and 20 years for those in captivity. The species play a very significant part in balancing the ecosystem considering it directly or indirectly influences the herbivorous primary consumers since it is at the top of the food chain as noted by Jinzhe, Quanhua, Guiming, Zhilin, Quan, Yan & Guangshun (2015).
Amur Leopards mainly prey on ungulates especially roe and deer. The animals usually commence hunting immediately before sunset and remain active in the early morning but hide out during the day and are known to prefer younger deer. Their main competitors are tigers that resort to younger deer during winter when medium-sized animals are scarce. Amur leopards normally require a cold environment and large home ranges that can go up to 100 square kilometers a range that is no longer supported forcing them to reside in homes with a smaller scope of about 70 square kilometers as indicated by Xiaofenga, Qu Yia, Li Diqiangb, Liu, Wang, Wu Bob & Zhu (2011).
Jinzhe et al. (2015) claim that Amur Leopards are among the most endangered species since they face numerous threats. For instance, they are threatened by poaching since humans hunt them for food, money and their beautiful spotted fur that are being sold in the black market as proven by the undercover investigation that found male and female skins going for $1000 to $500 respectively in Russia in 1993 has largely contributed to the reduction in their number. Amur Leopards’ population has been realized to have reduced excessively since currently their population worldwide is estimated to be around 360-450. The animals are also threatened by habitat distraction since their homes are constantly under attack from regular forest fires and human activities that exhaust natural resources like de-forestation carried out in favor of agriculture, an extension of villages as well as road construction as explicated by Xiaofenga et al. (2011).
Also, ecological destruction attributed to industrial pollution creating unfavorable conditions for their survival and those of their prey due to the existence of foreign fatal diseases. spread of foodborne disease. Part 9. Washing and drying of hands to reduce microbial contamination. Journal of Food shortage is also a challenge for these lovely creatures attributed to competition with other predators like tigers that runs out of medium-sized animals during winter and turn to younger ones which are the major source of food for Amur Leopards. The existence of Amur leopards is also endangered by inbreeding that possess a threat to their health, survival, and reproduction since it has was realized that the species lost genetic diversity as implied by Jinzhe et al. (2015).
In light of the numerous threats Amur leopards are exposed to and the acute reduction of their numbers worldwide, there is a need for drastic action that ought to be taken as soon as possible to protect them. It is important to note that environmental and wildlife conservation requires collective responsibility spearheaded by the government and environmental conservation. Thus, creating awareness on the significance of preserving wildlife life Amur Leopards since it minimizes poaching. Making people understand the dangers of reckless destruction of natural resources ought to aid in protecting their habitats as implied by Xiaofenga et al. (2011). The government also regulates harmful human activities that fragment their habitats like establishing appropriate laws that burn poaching and the black market trade of Amur Leopards’ products. Other legislation also needs to be drafted to ensure the dumping of industrial waste in the environment is regulated to minimize pollution of development of the country. Through environmental policies also, there is conservation of critical natural resources. Moreover, the government ought to urgently preserve and enlarge the few remaining core habitats just like the Russians that identified a large Amur Leopards’ core habitat covering about 650 000 acres and declared it a reserve referring to it as the land of leopard national park. The creation of wildlife corridors connecting Amur Leopards core habitats aid conservation and restoration of the animals with time as they offer a suitable network for the animal’s conservation as indicated by Xiaofenga et al. (2011).
Furthermore, more artificial reserves ought to be created since the better part of their natural habitats have been taken over by humans, and restoring them to their original natural state would take ages yet Amur Leopard’s risks of extinction are acute. Artificial habits have worked for some animals facing a similar circumstance thus are likely to aid avert the situation. Extensive research on their genetics is required in response to the challenge of inbreeding. WWF may decide to mate them according to their genetic composition to increase genetic diversity and minimize the current abnormalities causing a threat to their existence as recommended by Xiaofenga et al. (2011).
In conclusion, Amur Leopards which are subspecies of leopards mainly adapted to the cold and mainly found in the northeastern part of China are facing the possibility of extinction soon if drastic measures are not taken to curb the situation. The animals are endured by excessive human hunting, inbreeding, depletion of natural resources, and destruction of their habitats caused by despicable human activities that affect the environment like pollution and desertification. Food scarcity that consists majorly of young roe and deer has also contributed to a reduction in their population that currently is estimated to stand at 360-450. Therefore, this upsetting risk of Amur Leopard extinction requires rapid measures about environmental challenges and poaching like drafting of a wide range of legislation aimed at protecting their habits and educating the public on the significance of wildlife conservation. Conserving and extending existing core habitats would also help just like establishing artificial reserves.
Jinzhe, Q., Quanhua, S., Guiming, W., Zhilin, L., Quan, S., Yan H., & Guangshun J. (2015). Spatial distribution drivers of Amur leopard density in northeast China. Biological Conservation.
Xiaofenga, L., Qu Yia, Li Diqiangb, Liu, S., Wang, X., Wu Bob,& Zhu C. (2011). Journal of Environmental Management.
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