Roar! World's Rarest Cat Makes a Comeback

Amur leopard has doubled its numbers, but there are still only about 65-69
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 24, 2015 4:13 PM CST
Roar! World's Rarest Cat Makes a Comeback
Amur leopard Vatne relaxes in the zoo in Leipzig, Germany, Thursday, March 20, 2014.   (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)

It's what the WWF is hailing as an "amazing tale of recovery," but the numbers involved are still pretty small: The Amur leopard, dubbed the rarest cat on planet Earth, has doubled its numbers over the past seven years, but as reports, there are now just fewer than 70 of them in the wild—up from 30 in 2007. A survey of some 10,000 photos from camera traps in Russia’s Land of the Leopard National Park counted 57 of the kitties (their spot patterns are distinctive); an additional eight to 12 were seen nearby in neighboring China. The park, which contains all the Amur leopard's known breeding areas, is "the main organizational force for leopard protection and research," says a WWF official. It was established in 2012.

"Such a strong rebound in Amur leopard numbers is further proof that even the most critically endangered big cats can recover if we protect their habitat and work together on conservation efforts," says another WWF official. The park is also home to the Amur tiger, which is also endangered. (Meanwhile, Yosemite National Park recently spotted one of the "rarest mammals in North America.")

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