Target: Vladimir Putin, President of Russia; Xi Jinping, President of China
Goal: Create an international Amur leopard preserve
Five years ago, there were only 30 Russian Amur leopards left in the wild. Now there are 50. Although this is not a greatly significant number, it is still a 66 percent increase in the species population overall. Experts assert that it is now necessary to create an international leopard reserve with China so that the species population can continue to grow and expand without regard to Russia’s political borders.
The Amur leopard recovery program began in 2001, when the species was on the brink of total extinction. Information about the species is based on data compiled by the World Wildlife Fund Russia and The Russian National Accademy of Sciences. Much of the population data acquired by these organizations is garnered by tracing leopard tracks in Russia’s frozen wild places.
The Amur leopard is related to the more commonly-known African leopard. Although they share a similar leopard print, the Russian variety has a notably thicker winter coat to protect it from the freezing conditions common in its habitat. Like many large predators attempting to survive global climate change, the Amur leopards are expanding their terrain into areas they have never lived in before. As the leopard population expands, so does Russia’s protected areas, known as “Lands of the Leopard.” However, now the leopards are expanding into China. Urge environmental leaders from Russia and China to work together to create an international reserve for the delicate Amur leopard population.
Dear Mr. President,
The Amur leopard population has increased by 66 percent over the last five years, from just 30 leopards to 50 today. However, this is still a very small number that must be protected and allowed to further expand. In order for the Amur leopard population to flourish, it must have the freedom to move across the political boundaries separating Russia and China. This delicate large cat species is traversing land it has not crossed before, trying to carve a niche for itself outside of the Amur tiger territory. It prefers the colder regions of Russia, and according to tracking data acquired by the World Wildlife Fund Russia and The Russian National Accademy of Science, it has recently increased its presence in China.
Russian conservationists deserve praise for their efforts in protecting and increasing the Amur leopard popuation. Since 2001, they have worked to save a species that was on the brink of extinction. However, it is now more important than ever that these cats are allowed to roam and increase their numbers throughout Russia and China. Please create a Sino-Russian Amur leopard preserve to protect this species.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Art G. via Wikimedia