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Leopards can hear 5 times more sound than humans, including the ultrasonic squeaks made by mice.

A leopard crouching in tree

Of the large cats, leopards are the most arboreal, meaning they spend a lot of time in trees. They have long tails to help them to balance on narrow tree branches.

 

 

Leaps and Bounds Above the Rest

Leopards are known to drop onto their prey from trees, climb nimbly up snow-capped mountains, and move through tall savanna grass without causing even a ripple. These regal cats use trees more than most other big cats, relying on them for vantage points to stalk prey, then dragging their catch up to enjoy it in safety.

 

 

Amur leopard juxtaposed with a photo of a leopard pelt.

The Amur leopards of China and Russia are under siege from a variety of challenges, including: poaching of leopards and the wild prey they rely on, habitat loss to forest fires and development, and inbreeding due to tiny, isolated populations.

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Feet a leopard can leap forward in a single bound.

Crossing Paths

Leopards have been hunted to the brink of extinction. Sometimes they’re killed because they’re seen as pests, preying on local livestock, but mostly, the demand for leopard coats drives excessive poaching. In addition, the trees that leopards rely on to navigate their environment and hunt for food are being cut down, leaving them homeless and hungry.

Leopard on a dirt road

Together, we can
turn things around.

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Feet a leopard can leap in a single bound—straight up!

Side by side comparative camera trap photos of leopards in Africa used by scientists to identify individual animals

Wildlife cameras deployed by San Diego Zoo Global researchers captured an image of a male leopard on June 30, 2017 (left). After comparison, it was determined that this male was the same one that a tour guide photographed using his cell phone earlier in the month, on June 10, 2017 (right). The red boxes indicate characteristic coat markings that are unique to this leopard.

 

 

Connecting the Dots

Conservation begins with understanding. We are working with various partners to monitor leopard populations using photos taken by trail cameras. The patterns of spots on their fur are as unique as fingerprints, and being able to track individuals is immensely helpful in understanding the secret lives of this elusive species. We are also working to help build sustainable and genetically diverse leopard populations to help undo some of the damage that has been caused by habitat fragmentation and population isolation.

 

 

A pair of leopard cubs climbing on a broken tree branch

Panther?

A "black panther" in Africa and Asia is really just a leopard with a unique gene that makes its coat dark.

San Diego Zoo Global is leading the fight to end extinction for endangered species like the leopard. In cooperation with partners around the world, we’re making a difference, one animal at a time. But we can’t do it without your help.

A leopard climbing up a tree