Panthera pardus

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Rare and Endangered Animals of Armenia

The Leopard

File:240px-African leopard.jpg Leopards (Panthera pardus) are one of the four 'big cats' of the genus Panthera. (The others are the Lion, Tiger, and Jaguar.) They range in size from 1 to almost 2 metres long, and weigh between 30 and 70 kg. Females are typically around two-thirds the size of males.

Most Leopards are light tan or fawn with black spots, but their coats are very variable. The spots tend to be smaller on the head, larger and have pale centres on the body.

Originally, it was thought that a Leopard was a hybrid between a Lion and a Panther, and the Leopard's common name derives from this belief; leo is the Latin for lion, and pard is an old term meaning panther. In fact, a "panther" can be any of several species of large felid which happen to have genes for more black pigment than orange-tan pigment, thus producing a pure black coat as opposed to the usual spotted one. "Panthers", in other words, are simply dark-furred Leopards (or a dark form of several other big cats: see black panther).

Prior to the human-induced changes of the last few hundred years, Leopards were the most widely distributed of all felids other than the domestic cat: they were found through most of Africa (with the exception of the Sahara Desert), as well as parts of Asia Minor and the Middle East, India, Pakistan, China, Siberia, much of mainland South-East Asia, and the islands of Java, Zanzibar, and Sri Lanka.

Their lifestyle and diet are as varied as that of any big cat. They are able to hunt in trees as well as on the ground, and they feed on insects, rodents, fish, and larger game such as antelope. Leopards even prey upon dogs, themselves often formidable predators; those persons who keep dogs in leopard country are wise to keep dogs caged for their safety because leopards have been known to crave dog-meat. They are excellent tree climbers, and often protect their larger kills by carrying them up a tree.

Despite its size, this largely nocturnal and arboreal predator is difficult to see in the wild. Perhaps the best site is the Yala National Park in Sri Lanka, which has the world's highest density of wild Leopards, but even here sightings are by no means guaranteed.

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Animal in Armenia

Առաջավորասիական ընձառյուծ ("Arajavorasiakan yndzaryuts")

Armenian Leopard Conservation Society

NGO News #141 12. 05. 2000

Contact Address:
Horizonti, The Foundation for the Third Sector
33 Gogebashvili, 380079, Tbilisi, Georgia
Tel/Fax: (995 32) 29 29 55

Armenian Leopard Conservation Society Looks for Feedback

Armenian Leopard Conservation Society, a Youth Ecological Group's working initiative, is aimed specifically at studying the leopard (Panthera pardus) in Armenia and the whole Caucasus region. Now, it has become essential to establish a Leopard Record Monitoring Network in the Caucasus as an important step in the analysis of leopard distribution and ecology in the region. For this the society asks colleagues and like-minded people from Georgia, Azerbaijan and Russia's Northern Caucasus to report everything they know about the leopard in the above mentioned regions. Any kind of recent and current information, which indicates where in Caucasus the leopards are recorded directly (as live individuals or poached skins) or indirectly (through faeces, hairs, footprints, sounds or prey carcasses found in the wild). Also, those interested to learn more about the leopard in Armenia, particularly the local record monitoring system, are welcome to address the Armenian Leopard Conservation Society at the E-mail: Contact person: Igor Khorozyan

WWF Leopard Protection Project


Sept 5, 2005

KAPAN, SEPTEMBER 5, ARMENPRESS: Traces of three out of 10-12 leopards believed to live in Armenian forests are recorded in the southern province of Syunik. The total number of leopards in the South Caucasus is 20-24, with another 10-12 in Azerbaijan. The number of leopards in the conflict zone of the district of Karabakh is estimated as 5-7 leopards according to the data provided by hunters.

Another habitat of the leopard in Armenia is Khosrov Reserve located in the central part of Armenia. This is a small territory and traces of leopard viability are the evidence for the extinction of this group, but still being remained at the expense of high number of bezoar goat (Capra aegagrus) in some of the gorges and relatively lower presence of man in the mountains.

The leopard is included in the Red Data Book of Rare and Endangered Species (Red Book) in all countries of this region and in the UNEP-WCMC Database on Threatened Animals of the World.

It has been three years since the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) started a special project for protection of leopards in Armenia. The leopard was thought to have disappeared from the region in the 1960s, but absence of special surveys until the end of 20th century did not allow to exactly evaluate the leopard condition in the Ecoregion.

Recent rapid investigation conducted through WWF initial support in 2001 has shown that about 20 individuals of leopard has survived in the Southern Caucasus Nevertheless, situation with the leopard population in the Caucasus is critical, which is caused by the continuation of over hunting of ungulates (bezoar goat, roe deer, wild boar, etc.) - primary prey species, and poaching of the leopard itself. The long-term goal of this project is conservation of the Caucasus leopard in its historical range in the Ecoregion. As a result valuable leopard habitat and protected migratory routes were set up.

As part of this project Shikahogh preserve in Syunik was given two four-wheel cars to watch the animals, special anti-poaching groups of local residents were established and cameras were set up at different parts of the preserve to take pictures.

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A leopard family in the south of Armenia gives birth to two cubs

by Karina Manukyan Thursday, July 31, 2014

A leopard family in the Arevik National Park in the south of Armenia

has given birth to two cubs, Head of WWF Armenia Karen Manvelyan told journalists on Thursday.

"Due to WWF trail cameras, we have trailed three leopards (one male and two females) in the park. A few days ago the leopardesses were supposed to give birth to cubs but we have failed to see that as some people have stolen four WWF trail cameras. We don't think they were poachers. The cameras were located 30 km from one another, so, they must have been stolen by people who knew where exactly they were located. They surely had evil intent in mind," Manvelyan said, noting that the police have already been informed of the incident.

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Rare species. Included in the Red Book of the former USSR.

Habitat in Armenia

Was met in the southern parts of Armenia. Northern border of the natural habitat were Geghama Mountains. Some could have been met in the northern forests of Armenia.

Number in the wild

Not specially counted. Current number in Armenia is approximately 25.

Reasons for decrease in number

Until 1972 leopard were considered as enemies of farming. Other reason is poaching.

Number in captivity

No data

Measures of protection taken

Hunting is forbidden since 1972. Included in the Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

External links