The Protection and Prevention of Poaching and Trade of the Amur Leopard

Emely Castillo

The Amur Leopard is a solitary, quick-footed subspecies of leopard that has adapted to living in habitats that include broadleaf, temperate, and mixed forests across the Russia-Chinese border. Due to their desired fur, poachers seek to hunt these critically endangered leopards to skin and sell for profit.

There are around 120 individuals left in the entire world as of 2022, and with such a small population to work with, there have been programs implemented by organizations such as the World Wildlife Fund and TRAFFIC, the Wildlife Trade Monitoring Network. They have joined forces along with governments, regional authorities, and other organizations to execute the restrictions of trading products related to the Far Eastern leopard in an attempt to prevent further deterioration of the population.

Currently, the Amur leopard is listed within the Appendix I of CITES (The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), which supports and enforces an agreement made globally with other countries to regulate or ban the trade of endangered animals. For these leopards, all trade is prohibited and there are brigades focused on anti-poaching within nature reserves which are stationed to protect them from being poached for their fur.

In addition to the prevention of poaching, in 2012 Russia declared a new area called Land of the Leopard National Park in an effort to further save the big cat species. This area ensures there is a feeding and breeding ground for them which includes about 650,000 acres! Several years ago, conservationists were able to convince the Russian government to reexamine and reroute an oil pipeline that was planned to run through the Amur’s habitat. This move successfully prevented additional negative impact on the already endangered species long-term. With these continued efforts, there is a fighting chance to save these big cats from extinction in our era.

Sources: Wildlife Conservation Society Russia, World Wildlife Fund