With a total population of 30-35 individuals in the wild, the Amur leopard, or Far Eastern leopard, is one of the most - if not the most - endangered large cat on earth. ALTA is a coalition of 13 international and Russian organizations that have pooled resources to support the conservation of Amur leopards and Amur tigers in the wild. They focus on monitoring populations, habitat analysis, habitat protection, anti-poaching efforts, recovery of prey populations, public awareness, and reintroduction programs.
ALTA partner, the World Conservation Society (WCS), is responsible for much of the research monitoring the populations. The Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and WCS are assisting in the development of wildlife health monitoring capacity in Russia as part of the preparations for a possible reintroduction of Amur leopards. All partners are working to increase public awareness and decrease poaching and the illegal trade of these animals.
The Greenville Zoo has exhibited Amur leopards since 2003. We currently hold three young female leopards. As one of the most endangered species in the zoo, the leopards garner a lot of attention and give the zoo the ability to inform our guests of their plight in the wild. Zoos have made a commitment to: 1) increase public awareness, 2) provide funding for native range country programs, 3) generate useful data and skills and 4) maintain a "genetic reservoir" for reintroduction or supplementation. We anticipate that these females will be moved into a breeding situation once they are mature.