New hope for the survival of the Amur leopard in China

Guangshun Jiang, Jinzhe Qi, Guiming Wang, Quanhua Shi, Yury Darman, Mark Hebblewhite, Dale G. Miquelle, Zhilin Li, Xue Zhang, Jiayin Gu, Youde Chang, Minghai Zhang, Jianzhang Ma

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    Natural range loss limits the population growth of Asian big cats and may determine their survival. Over the past decade, we collected occurrence data of the critically endangered Amur leopard worldwide and developed a distribution model of the leopardâ €™ s historical range in northeastern China over the past decade. We were interested to explore how much current range area exists, learn what factors limit their spatial distribution, determine the population size and estimate the extent of potential habitat. Our results identify 48,252 km 2 of current range and 21,173.7 km 2 of suitable habitat patches and these patches may support 195.1 individuals. We found that prey presence drives leopard distribution, that leopard density exhibits a negative response to tiger occurrence and that the largest habitat patch connects with 5,200 km 2 of Russian current range. These insights provide a deeper understanding of the means by which endangered predators might be saved and survival prospects for the Amur leopard not only in China, but also through imperative conservation cooperation internationally.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number15475
    JournalScientific Reports
    Volume5
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Dec 7 2015

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