I told my readers to "stay tuned for more entries in this series" at the end of Radioactive wolves: student sustainability video festival 35. It's time to do just that.
Two students gave presentations on the endangered Amur Leopard. The first used SAVE the Amur Leopards as her video for her talk.
It is estimated that between 1970-1983, the Amur leopard lost an astonishing 80% of its former territory. Indiscriminate logging, forest fires and land conversion for farming are the main causes.More text at the link.
Still all is not lost. Even now large tracts of forest, which are ideal leopard habitat exist. If these areas can be protected from unsustainable logging, rampant forest fires and poaching of wildlife, the chance exists to increase the population of the subspecies in the wild.
The Amur leopard is poached largely for its beautiful, spotted fur. In 1999, an undercover investigation team recovered a female and a male Amur leopard skin, which were being sold for US$ 500 and US$ 1,000 respectively, in the village of Barabash, not far from the Kedrovaya Pad reserve. This suggests that there is a market for such products within the locality itself.
Agriculture and villages surround the forests where the leopards live. As a result the forests are relatively accessible, making poaching a bigger problem than elsewhere. Not only for the leopards themselves, but also for important prey species, such as roe deer, sika deer and hare, which are hunted by the villagers both for food and hard cash.
The second concluded his talk with Mark Sharman: Baby Planet - Amur Leopards.
A sequence taken from the Animal Planet/France 5 series Baby Planet, produced by Parthenon Entertainment... featuring a feisty family of rare Amur Leopards as the three cubs get vaccinated and chipped in a conservation programme at Mulhouse Zoo, France.Videos like these remind me that one of the issues that got me interested in environmentalism was endangered species. I've grown away from that, but preserving them as part of conserving biodiversity is still an important cause.