At this exhibit are two very rare animal species that are threatened with extinction, the Amur leopard and the red panda. Only 30 to 40 Amur leopards survive in the wild. This medium sized cat is found in isolated areas of southwestern Russia, northeast China and North Korea. Habitat loss, poaching, and declining prey animals contribute to its population decline. Anti poaching enforcement, education programs, and compensation for farmers that lose livestock have slowed the decline, but these efforts may not be enough to save the species. The leopard seen here is in a Species Survival Plan.
The plan is managed by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and its purpose is to maintain a genetically pure captive population of about one hundred Amur leopards for release into the wild. However, conditions need to improve in the leopard’s native range for any of these leopards to be released. The red panda is confronted with a similar survival problem. The population of this small reddish animal of the lower elevations of the Himalaya Mountains is about twenty-five hundred. Conservation efforts to save the species may be too late.