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Amur Leopard Cat or Far Eastern Forest Cat

While the leopard cat is one of the most common small cats in Asia, its subspecies Euptilura, commonly known as Amur leopard cat or Far Eastern forest cat, is rarer. Euptilura is larger than many of the Asian Leopard cat subspecies. It is also different in appearance. It’s dense, short, usually rosetted coat is more red and gray than other subspecies. Euptilura has heavy bones and muscles, long legs, a small head and thick tail.

Another member of the cat family Tsushima leopard cat lives exclusively on Tsushima Island, an island of the Japanese archipelago situated in the middle of the Tsushima Strait. This cat was initially regarded as belonging to the Chinese leopard cat subspecies, but now it is considered an isolated population of the Amur cat (P. b. euptilurus/euptilura).

Distribution

The nick name, Amur leopard cat, is given because it is commonly found in the Amur River valley of Russian Far East.Amur River, (uh MOOR) is a huge river in eastern Siberia. The Amur River system is about 2,744 miles long. The river flows east along China’s northern border and then turns north into the Khabarovsk Region of Russia. It empties into the northern Tatar Strait, a narrow band of water separating Sakhalin Island from the east coast of Siberia. The valleys of the Amur and its branches cover about 715,000 sq. miles. The cities of Khabarovsk and Komsomolsk stand on the banks of Amur.

Habitat and Diet

This cat is shy and hard to find. It is usually found in the mountain forests and sometimes the bushy areas. Sightings have been reported from the isolated hill forests of Khanka Lake coastal lowlands in Ussuriland, Russia. They feed on small mammals like mice, squirrels, hares, young of roe deer and birds, small reptiles and amphibians.

Reproduction

Mating usually takes place in March and four kittens on an average are born in May. In these cats males help in raising the young.

Threats

The main threat these cats face in Ussuriland, the southern part of Russian Far East is habitat loss. Southern Ussuriland particularly has diverse flora and fauna, with a mixture of Siberian and Oriental species. Korean pine (Pinus koraensis), locally known as “cedar”, was logged despite its importance as a food source for wildlife. Now most old-growth forests outside nature reserves have been logged, and what remains is relatively well-protected. Rapid development taking place in the area is the most serious problem now. Within a decade, local population of snakes, medicinal plants, musk deer (Moschus moschiferus) and bears (Ursus arctos, U. tibetanus) have collapsed.

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