Protect the Critically Endangered Amur Leopard

Protect the Critically Endangered Amur Leopard

0 have signed. Let’s get to 2,500!
At 2,500 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!
Jessica Garcia started this petition to World Wildlife Fund

The Amur Leopard, also known as the “Panthera pardus orientalis” is a rare subspecies of leopard with an, “estimated population of about 80 left in the wild and about 180 in captivity” (WCA). It is currently and critically endangered with the numbers rapidly decreasing which can lead them to extinction. The destruction of their habitat has left these leopards vulnerable and exposed to illegal poaching and smuggling. Something must be done to prevent these low numbers from going even further down. We must urge the Russian governments to support and work alongside organizations such as The Amur Leopard and Tiger Alliance (ATLA) and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to preserve the forests of these leopards and protect them from being illegally poached and smuggled. The Amur Leopards must be saved from extinction and must be protected in order to conserve a future where they still exist where future generations can enjoy their presence.

The Amur Leopards reside within the temperate forests of the Russian Far East and northeastern Chinese Provinces. They are adapted to the cool climate of these countries, so when winter approaches their coat protects them from the snow and help them camouflage in the snow. In the wild, “leopards live up to 10-15 years, and they may reach up to 20 in captivity. The leopards hunt a variety of animals including roe deer, sika deer, badgers, and hares” (Wild Conservation Alliance). Their hunting habits consists of normally hunting during the nighttime and silently watching their prey before ambushing them, and they can reach speeds of up to 35 miles per hour.

These leopards face the dangers of deforestation that disturb and destroy their natural habitat. There are sanctuaries or protected land that the Russian government has assigned in an attempt to preserve the habitat of the leopards; however, this is still not enough. The Russian and Chinese governments are the culprits of the destruction of these forests, with active and illegal logging in the Russian Far East, “Russia has been a witting collaborator, too, selling Chinese companies logging rights at low cost, critics say, turning blind eye to logging beyond what is legally allowed” (New York Times). This deforestation leaves these leopards vulnerable and exposed to illegal poaching and smuggling. The Russian government must be urged to monitor how much deforestation is occurring and the stop the illegal logging that occurs under their radar.

Poaching is another threat that these leopards face due to the greed of humans, in an attempt to make quick cash and obtain the beautiful spotted coat that these leopards have. These leopards are illegally hunted and their fur is sold into the black market, “An undercover investigation recovered a female and male Amur leopard skin, which were being sold for $500 and $1,000” (WWF). The Russian government increased the penalties for those caught poaching endangered species and transborder activity in a 2012 law that resulted in fines up to two million rubles (about $31,000 U.S.D) and prison terms up to seven years (Kathleen Braden). Those laws do not stop poachers from threatening the Amur Leopard population as their skins continue to be found in the black market operations. We must urge the Russian government to enforce even stronger policies to stop the illegal hunting of these animals by increasing the fines and implementing a longer prison sentence.

Organizations like the WWF and ATLA fight to protect Amur Leopards from habitat destruction and illegal hunting.We must urge the Russian government to step up its conservation efforts with the same initiative as these organizations to protect the Amur Leopards. We must urge them to monitor activity of illegal logging and the destruction of the leopards’ habitat. With the implementation of  harsher punishments they can put a stop to those that are found illegally hunting and selling the fur of the leopards. By spreading awareness of the critically endangered Amur leopard and urge the Russian government to find a solution to this issue, something can be done, as change can be implemented that will save the Amur Leopards from extinction and ensure them of a future where they can flourish. By signing this petition we can demand something to be done.

Sources:

Myers, Steven Lee. “China's Voracious Appetite for Timber Stokes Fury in Russia and Beyond.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 9 Apr. 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/09/world/asia/chinas-voracious-appetite-for-timber-stokes-fury-in-russia-and-beyond.html

“Amur Leopard Facts.” WildCats Conservation Alliance, https://conservewildcats.org/resources/amur-leopard-facts/

“Amur Leopard.” WWF, World Wildlife Fund, https://www.worldwildlife.org/species/amur-leopard

Kathleen Braden (2015, April 8), "Illegal recreational hunting in Russia: the role of social norms and elite violators." Retrieved January 22, 2018, from http://russian.dartmouth.edu/sites/russian.dartmouth.edu/files/illegal_recreational_hunting_in_russia_the_role_of_social_norms_and_elite_violators.pdf

0 have signed. Let’s get to 2,500!
At 2,500 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!