Amur Leopard GSMP

The critically endangered Amur leopard (Panthera pardus orientalis) currently numbers less than 50 individuals in the wild. This last isolated population is found in southwest Primorye in the Russian Far East, with leopards crossing over the border into China. At present it is impossible to ascertain their status in the Korean peninsula, although there are unconfirmed reports of Amur leopards being seen in the Demilitarised Zone.

 

Four regional zoo associations manage ex situ programmes for Amur leopards and are participating in the WAZA Global Species Management Plan (GSMP) established in April 2013. These regions are EAZA and EARAZA (who jointly manage the EEP), AZA and JAZA. As of July 2013, the GSMP population consisted of 209 Amur leopards held in 88 institutions. All three populations are descended from the same 13 founders and retain 89% gene diversity.

 

The first Amur Leopard GSMP meeting was held in May 2013, jointly with the Amur Tiger GSMP, kindly hosted by Moscow Zoo. The Co-Convenors for the GSMP are Sarah Christie (Zoological Society of London, EAZA) and Tanya Arzhanova (Moscow Zoo, EARAZA), with Jo Cook (Zoological Society of London, International Studbook Keeper) serving as Population Management Advisor. Representatives from all the participating regions attended the meeting as well as field, veterinary and other advisors.

 

The GSMP will enable all three programmes to be managed cohesively in order to maximise the genetic health, diversity and sustainability of the ex situ population. This is especially important as Amur leopards from the GSMP population could be used in a reintroduction plan to establish a second wild population in their historic range. The GSMP also provides a platform for discussion with Russian authorities about what should happen if Amur leopards for some reason come into human hands. There will also be increased sharing of information and greater cooperation between the regions in order to strengthen both in situ and ex situ conservation of this vulnerable animal.

 

Sarah Christie & Tanya Arzhanova – GSMP Co-Convenors / Jo Cook – International Studbook Keeper and GSMP Population Management Advisor

  • Amur Leopard GSMP_1
  • Amur Leopard GSMP

    Amur Leopard GSMP

    (1) © Tom Svensson, (2) © Signe Kalgan

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