About Leopards

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.

Private Eaters

Leopards are the only wild cats that are known to drag their meals into trees.

© Craig Taylor

Widespread Range

The leopard has the largest range of all the big cats.

© Sergio Pitamitz/National Geographic Image Collection

Not a Black Panther

Leopards with melanism are often called “black panthers.”

© Parinya Padungtin

Population Dwindling

The leopard is likely the most persecuted big cat in the world.

© Ryan Scott
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73%↑

increase in leopards detected on the Gabon side of the Batéké Plateaux

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200+

poacher arrests in Kafue National Park, Zambia

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18,500+

(faux furs) donated to replace real leopard skin capes in southern Africa

Our Impact

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
map showing the current and historic ranges of leopards

Leopard FAQs

Question

What do leopards eat and how do they hunt?

Answer

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.

Question

How do you tell the difference between a leopard and a jaguar?

Answer

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.

Question

Can leopards purr?

Answer

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.

Question

What are the threats facing leopards?

Answer

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.

Question

How can we save leopards?

Answer

We can protect leopards by reducing human-leopard conflict and poaching, stabilizing and increasing prey numbers and reducing unsustainable legal trophy hunting.

Ensure their tomorrow with your gift today.

© Nitish Madan