Known for their beautiful, patterned coats and extreme adaptability, the leopard is likely the most persecuted large cat in the world. Extinct in 13 countries/regions and possibly extinct in seven more, leopards have vanished from at least two-thirds of their historic range in Africa and 84 percent of their historic range in Eurasia. We rigorously monitor leopard populations to identify those in need of conservation attention and to inform effective management of the species across its range.
Leopards are the only wild cats that are known to drag their meals into trees.
The leopard has the largest range of all the big cats.
Not a Black Panther
Leopards with melanism are often called “black panthers.”
The leopard is likely the most persecuted big cat in the world.
increase in leopards detected on the Gabon side of the Batéké Plateaux
poacher arrests in Kafue National Park, Zambia
(faux furs) donated to replace real leopard skin capes in southern Africa
Where Do Leopards Live?
Known for its incredible adaptability, the leopard has the largest range of all the big cats: spanning roughly 62 countries across much of Africa and Eurasia. They occur in a wide range of habitats including deserts, savanna grasslands, mountains and rainforests.
- Historic Leopard Range
- Current Leopard Range
What do leopards eat and how do they hunt?
Leopards use their agility to hunt over 100 different animals such as impala and springbok, killing their prey with either a suffocating bite to the throat or the back of the neck.
How do you tell the difference between a leopard and a jaguar?
While leopards live in Africa and Asia, jaguars can be found across the Americas. Leopards are covered in more solid spots and rosettes, jaguars sport blocky rosettes with distinct internal spots.
Can leopards purr?
Most big cats, including leopards, cannot purr. Instead, leopards are known for their rasping call. This iconic vocalization is due to the hyoid bone in the cat’s throat being attached to a specialized stretching ligament.
What are the threats facing leopards?
Leopards are threatened by illegal killing for their skins and other body parts, conflict with local people, rampant bushmeat poaching (depletion of their natural prey) and poorly managed trophy hunting.
How can we save leopards?
We can protect leopards by reducing human-leopard conflict and poaching, stabilizing and increasing prey numbers and reducing unsustainable legal trophy hunting.