Leopard Heights is the largest Amur leopard facility in Europe. Designed as a purpose built breeding and reintroduction facility, it won the BIAZA (British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums) award for Significant Advances in Husbandry and Welfare. The Amur Leopard is the only big cat with a reintroduction programme approved by the IUCN and all the Amur Leopards in zoos and parks worldwide are being bred in a programme towards this reintroduction. It is hoped that one day soon, Drake and Freya’s cubs will play an important role in this project.
Panthera pardus orientalis
Native to East Russia and North East China, the beautiful Amur Leopard is the most endangered big cat in the world, it is thought that there are only 70 individuals left in the wild. Living and hunting alone, the Amur leopard is a very skilful hunter, stalking their prey to within a striking distance of a few metres.
Drake, Freya and their two cubs live in the award winning Leopard Heights reserve, the ground breaking open top enclosure brings you eye to eye with the most endangered carnivore in the world. With its pioneering design, the spectacular £300,000 reserve has an 8m tall viewing tower, giving an unrivalled experience and view of the Leopards of YWP. From the 100 sq. m viewing platform visitors come face to face with the leopards as they scale their 10m high climbing frames.
At ground level of the 6000 sq. m enclosure there is a viewing area with a 10m long glass wall to complete the spectacular creation, which is the largest leopard enclosure in the world.
Two critically endangered Amur Leopard cubs named Anadyr and Teva were born on the 28th June 2015. The cubs represent hope for an entire species, as currently there are less than 70 individuals left in the wild.
Part of the international breeding program, the cubs are vital to the aim of reintroducing Amur leopards born in captivity, back into the wild. The cubs were released into the nursery reserve on the 27th October where they are on view to the public.
It’s difficult to believe that an animal so beautiful could be facing extinction, with less than 70 left in the wild they are critically endangered. Pushed to the brink of extinction through on-going habitat destruction, forest fires and poaching, it’s imperative that conservation of the Amur leopard is a priority.
Through donations and fundraising at Yorkshire Wildlife Park, the Yorkshire Wildlife Park Foundation (YWPF) works closely with the Amur Leopard and Tiger Alliance (ALTA), which is an organisation dedicated to study and protect the Amur leopard and the Amur Tiger in the wild.
YWPF is proud to support ALTA and funds raised here support a variety of projects such as:
- Monitoring numbers of Leopards, tigers and prey species.
- Habitat protection-such as putting out fires.
- Supporting anti-poaching teams.
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