According to WWF, after 50 years the Amur leopard was captured in several videos by hidden camera traps east of the Trans-Siberian railway line in Russia. According to a 2013 census, only 48-50 individuals survive in the wild.
For this reason, the recent sighting, which took place about 60 km from the border of its usual territory, aroused joy and amazement in the WWF Russia team and in the photographer Igor Metelsky. The Amur leopard is present in the mountain ranges of Central Asia and has the particularity of having such a variable fur from specimen to specimen that it is possible, for an expert eye, to recognize single individuals.
Pavel Fomenko, Chief Rare Species Conservation Program Coordinator at WWF Russia Amur, said: "WWF Russia together with the hunting club have been applying models to increase wildlife numbers in this area for nearly five years.
territorial protection ensured, and a system of stations for supplementary feeding has been created. The number of ungulates, potential hunting prey for tiger and leopard, is high. To ensure the protection of the feline it is important to understand how it moves beyond its perimeter." This animal is classified as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List, meaning it is considered an extremely high-risk species of extinction in the wild.
In 2007, it was estimated that there were only 19-26 wild leopards left in southeastern Russia and northeastern China, making it one of the rarest felines in the world.
As of 2015, fewer than 60 individuals are estimated to survive in the wild in Russia and China.
Camera trap surveys conducted between 2014 and 2015 revealed 92 individuals in a cross-border area of 8,398 km2 (3,242 square miles) along the Russian-Chinese border. In 2019, the population was reported to have risen to around 90 individuals.
It remains a critically endangered species even though its numbers appear to be slowly recovering. Genetic research findings indicate that the Amur leopard is genetically close to leopards in northern China and Korea, suggesting that the original leopard population in this region fragmented in the early 20th century.
The North China leopard was previously recognized as a distinct subspecies P. p. japonensis, but was recognized as a synonym for the Amur leopard in 2017.