For Immediate Release
WWF: World’s Rarest Wild Cat Thrown a Lifeline with Establishment of New National Park
New national park in Russia protects habitat of critically endangered Amur leopard
WASHINGTON - World Wildlife Fund (WWF) today announced the establishment of a new national park in Russia as part of efforts to save the world’s rarest cat – the Amur leopard. Fewer than 40 Amur leopards are believed to exist in the wild, the majority of which reside in the new Land of the Leopard National Park in Russia’s Far East. The national park includes around 60 percent of the critically endangered cat’s remaining habitat.
“Amur leopards are literally teetering on the brink of extinction,” said Dr. Sybille Klenzendorf, head of WWF’s species program. “With the establishment of Land of the Leopard National Park, in conjunction with other conservation efforts, we can now start to focus on how to begin bringing them back.”
Land of the Leopard National Park, which includes all of the Amur leopard’s breeding areas, extends across nearly 650,000 acres (262,000 hectares). The national park will also become home to 10 Amur tigers that are key for Changbaishan population in China and a valuable Korean pine forest.
The park will be comprised of various zones, including protected areas, an economic development zone, and a recreational zone that will include forested areas and sites for eco-tourism. The government of Russia has announced an investment of around $16.6 million for the development of the park’s infrastructure, and another $1.3 million towards its upkeep.
Since 2001, WWF has supported the establishment of the Land of the Leopard National Park in Russia as critical to ensuring the survival of Amur leopards, as well as Amur tigers.
Due to extensive habitat loss and conflict with humans, Amur leopards are critically endangered, with fewer than 40 believed to remain in Russia and China. The Amur leopard is also known as the Far East leopard, the Manchurian leopard or the Korean leopard. Read more about the Amur Leopard here.
The largest multinational conservation organization in the world, WWF works in 100 countries and is supported by 1.2 million members in the United States and close to 5 million globally. WWF's unique way of working combines global reach with a foundation in science, involves action at every level from local to global, and ensures the delivery of innovative solutions that meet the needs of both people and nature.