Saturday, November 01, 2014

Amur Leopard - Columbus Zoo

Today we made a family trip to the Columbus Zoo.  For me, it was the first in a few months, since we visited the new Africa area.  Being a cold, blustery November day, we checked out the indoor exhibits.  Rarely do we ever go inside the Asia quest area.  To my surprise, we found two Amur leopards (Panthera pardus orientalis) in an area formerly occupied by sun bears.  I wasn't familiar with the leopard species, which is extremely rare in the wild.  According to the World Wildlife Fund, only 30 or so individuals still exist in far east Russia.  They apparently share a home with the Amur tiger in the Primorye region of Russia.  My guess is that these cats are familiar with one of our nasty invasive species, the Amur honeysuckle.  If you're looking for an exciting read this winter, and want to learn more about the Amur region and its tigers, take a look at John Vaillant's "The Tiger".  It's quite a riveting natural history read.