The leopard (Panthera pardus) is one of the five extant species in the genus Panthera, a member of the Felidae. The leopard occurs in a wide range in sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia. The leopard is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List because leopard populations are threatened by habitat loss and fragmentation, and are declining in large parts of the global range. In Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuwait, Syria, Libya, Tunisia and most likely in Morocco, leopard populations have already been extirpated. Contemporary records suggest that the leopard occurs in only 25% of its historical global range. Leopards are hunted illegally, and their body parts are smuggled in the wildlife trade for medicinal practices and decoration.
Compared to other wild cats, the leopard has relatively short legs and a long body with a large skull. It is similar in appearance to the jaguar, but generally has a smaller, lighter physique. Its fur is marked with rosettes similar to those of the jaguar, but the leopard's rosettes are generally smaller, more densely packed and without central spots. Both leopards and jaguars that are melanistic are known as black panthers. The leopard is distinguished by its well-camouflaged fur, opportunistic hunting behaviour, broad diet, and strength (which it uses to move heavy carcasses into trees), as well as its ability to adapt to various habitats ranging from rainforest to steppe, including arid and montane areas, and its ability to run at speeds of up to 58 kilometres per hour (36 mph).
|African leopard (P. p. pardus) at Kruger National Park|
|Present and historical distribution of the leopard|
The common name "leopard" (/ˈlɛpərd/) is a Greek compound of λέων leōn ("lion") and πάρδος pardos ("male panther"). The name reflects the fact that in antiquity, a leopard was believed to be a hybrid of a lion and a panther. The Greek word is related to Sanskrit पृदाकु pṛdāku ("snake", "tiger" or "panther"), and probably derives from a Mediterranean language, such as Egyptian. The name was first used in the 13th century. Other vernacular names for the leopard include graupanther, panther and several regional names such as tendwa in India. The term "black panther" refers to leopards with melanistic genes. A term for the leopard used in Old English and later, but now very uncommon, is "pard".
The generic name Panthera derives from Latin via Greek πάνθηρ (pánthēr). The term "panther", whose first recorded use dates back to the 13th century, generally refers to the leopard and, less often, to the cougar and the jaguar. Alternative origins suggested for Panthera include an Indo-Iranian word meaning "white-yellow" or "pale". In Sanskrit, this could have been derived from पाण्डर pāṇḍara ("tiger"), which in turn comes from पुण्डरीक puṇḍárīka (with the same meaning). The specific name pardus is derived from the Greek πάρδος (pardos) ("male panther").
The leopard is one of the five extant species of the genus Panthera, which also includes the jaguar (P. onca), the lion (P. leo), the snow leopard (P. uncia) and the tiger (P. tigris). This genus, along with the genus Neofelis, forms the subfamily Pantherinae.
The leopard was first described by Swedish zoologist Carl Linnaeus in the 10th edition of Systema Naturae. Linnaeus named the leopard Felis pardus and placed it in the genus Felis along with the domestic cat, the jaguar, the Eurasian lynx, the lion, the ocelot and the tiger. In the 18th and 19th centuries, most naturalists and taxonomists followed his example. In 1816, Lorenz Oken proposed a definition of the genus Panthera, with a subgenus Panthera using F. pardus as a type species. Oken's classification was not widely accepted, and Felis or Leopardus was used until the early 20th century. In 1916, British zoologist Reginald Innes Pocock accorded Panthera generic rank based on Panthera pardus as the type species.
Following Linnaeus' first description, 27 leopard subspecies were described by naturalists between 1794 and 1956. Since 1996, only eight subspecies have been considered valid on the basis of mitochondrial analysis. Later analysis revealed a ninth valid subspecies, the Arabian leopard.
Since 2017, the Cat Classification Task Force of the Cat Specialist Group recognizes only eight subspecies and subsumed P. p. ciscaucasica to P. p. tulliana, and P. p. japonensis to P. p. orientalis. The eight recognized subspecies are summarized in the table below.
|African leopard (P. p. pardus) (Linnaeus, 1758), syn. P. p. panthera (Schreber, 1777), P. p. leopardus (Schreber, 1777), P. p. melanotica (Gunther, 1885), P. p. suahelicus (Neumann, 1900), P. p. nanopardus (Thomas, 1904), P. p. ruwenzorii (Camerano, 1906), P. p. chui (Heller, 1913), P. p. reichenowi (Cabrera, 1918), P. p. antinorii (de Beaux, 1923), P. p. iturensis (Allen, 1924), P. p. adusta Pocock, 1927, P. p. shortridgei Pocock, 1932, P. p. adersi Pocock, 1932||It is the most widespread leopard subspecies and occurs in:
|Indian leopard (P. p. fusca) (Meyer, 1794), syn. P. p. pernigra (Hodgson, 1863), P. p. millardi Pocock, 1930||It is native to the Indian subcontinent: Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan, and Bangladesh, as well as China.|
|Javan leopard (P. p. melas) (G. Cuvier, 1809)||It is the only subspecies native to Indonesia and lives on Java. It is Critically Endangered.|
|Arabian leopard (P. p. nimr) (Hemprich and Ehrenberg, 1833), syn. P. p. jarvisi Pocock, 1932||It is the smallest leopard subspecies; adult females weigh about 18 kg (40 lb). It is native to the Arabian Peninsula: Saudi Arabia, Oman, Yemen, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. It is considered extinct in the Sinai Peninsula.|
|Anatolian leopard (P. p. tulliana) (Valenciennes, 1856), syn. Persian leopard (P. p. ciscaucasica) (Satunin, 1914), P. p. saxicolor Pocock, 1927, P. p. sindica Pocock, 1930, P. p. dathei Zukowsky, 1964||Leopard populations persist in eastern Turkey, the Caucasus, Georgia, Armenia, southern Russia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and northern Iran.
In southwestern Turkey, the leopard is extinct. The Balochistan leopard possibly evolved in southern Iran, southern Afghanistan and southwestern Pakistan, being separated from the northern population by the Dasht-e Kavir and Dasht-e Lut deserts.
|Amur leopard (P. p. orientalis) (Schlegel, 1857), syn. P. p. japonensis (Gray, 1862)||It is native to the Russian Far East and northern China, but regionally extinct in the Korean peninsula.|
|Indochinese leopard (P. p. delacouri) Pocock, 1930||It inhabits mainland Southeast Asia, including Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and South China.|
|Sri Lankan leopard (P. p. kotiya) Deraniyagala, 1956||It is native to Sri Lanka.|
The last common ancestor of the genera Panthera and Neofelis is believed to have occurred about 6.37 million years ago. The clouded leopard was the first to diverge from the rest of the Panthera lineage, followed by the snow leopard. The genus Panthera is believed to have emerged in Asia, from where they subsequently emigrated to Africa. The tiger-snow leopard clade diverged from the rest of Panthera around 2.9 million years ago. Johnson and colleagues suggest that the leopard diverged next, and followed by the lion-jaguar clade.
The leopard is part of the Panthera lineage, one of the eight lineages of Felidae. This lineage comprises the species of Panthera and Neofelis. The clouded leopard diverged first from the lineage, followed by a clade consisting of the tiger and the snow leopard. Subsequent branching began two to three million years ago, but the details of this are disputed.
Results of phylogenetic studies based on nDNA and mtDNA analysis showed that the leopard is a sister taxon to a clade within Panthera consisting of the lion and the jaguar. However, results of a different phylogenetic study revealed a swapping between the leopard and the jaguar in the cladogram. Results of a 2001 phylogenetic analysis of chemical secretions amongst cats also suggested that the leopard is closely related to the lion.
Fossils of ancestors of the leopard have been found in East Africa and South Asia, dating back to the Pleistocene between 2 and 3.5 million years ago. The modern leopard is suggested to have evolved in Africa 0.5 to 0.8 million years ago and to have radiated across Asia 0.2 to 0.3 million years ago.
In Europe, the leopard occurred at least since the Pleistocene. Fossil bones and teeth dating from the Pliocene were excavated in Perrier in France, northeast of London, and in Valdarno, Italy. Similar fossils dating back to the Pleistocene were excavated mostly in loess and caves at 40 sites in the continent – from near Lisbon, near Gibraltar, and Santander Province in northern Spain to several sites in France, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, Germany, in the north up to Derby in England, in the east to Přerov in the Czech Republic, and the Baranya in southern Hungary, and in Biśnik Cave in south-central Poland. Four subspecies of European Pleistocene leopards were proposed. P. p. begoueni, known from the beginning of the early Pleistocene, was replaced about 0.6 million years ago by P. p. sickenbergi, which in turn was replaced by P. p. antiqua around 0.3 million years ago. The most recent, P. p. spelaea, appeared at the beginning of the Late Pleistocene and survived until about 24,000 years ago in several parts of Europe.
Crossbreeding between the leopard and the other members of the Panthera has been documented. In 1953, a lioness and a male leopard were mated in the Hanshin Park in Nishinomiya, Japan. The first litter from this pairing was born on 2 November 1959, consisting of a male and a female. Another litter was born in 1961, in which all the offspring were spotted and bigger than a juvenile leopard. The hybrid came to be known as a "leopon". Unsuccessful attempts were made to mate a leopon with a tigress.
Although lions and leopards may come into contact in sub-Saharan Africa, they are generally not known to interbreed naturally. However, there have been anecdotal reports of felids larger than the cheetah but smaller than the lion, with a lion-like face, from the Central African Republic, Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda. This animal, known as the marozi and by several other names, is covered with grayish spots or rosettes on the back, the flanks and the legs. However, there have been no confirmed sightings of the marozi since the 1930s.
A pumapard is a hybrid animal resulting from a mating between a leopard and a puma (a member of the genus Puma, not the genus Panthera). Three sets of these hybrids were bred in the late 1890s and early 1900s by Carl Hagenbeck at his animal park in Hamburg, Germany. While most of these animals did not reach adulthood, one of these was purchased in 1898 by the Berlin Zoo. A similar hybrid in the Berlin Zoo purchased from Hagenbeck was a cross between a male leopard and a female puma. A specimen in the Hamburg Zoo (in the photo at right) was the reverse pairing, fathered by a puma bred to an Indian leopardess. The pumapard is characterised by a long body like the puma's, but with shorter legs. The hybrid is in general a dwarf, smaller than either parent. The coat is variously described as sandy, tawny or greyish with brown, chestnut or faded rosettes.
The leopard's skin colour varies by climate and habitat from pale yellow to yellowish brown or golden. Leopards living in forests are darker than those in arid habitats. Spots fade toward the white underbelly and the insides and lower parts of the legs. Rosettes are most prominent on the back, flanks and hindquarters. The pattern of the rosettes is unique in each individual. Rosettes are circular in East African leopard populations, and tend to be squarish in Southern African and larger in Asian leopard populations. The fur tends to be grayish tones in colder climates, and to a darker golden hue in rain forest habitats.
Its white-tipped tail is about 60–100 centimetres (24–39 in) long, white underneath and with spots that form incomplete bands toward the tail's end. Its fur is generally soft and thick, notably softer on the belly than on the back. It tends to grow longer in colder climates. The guard hairs protecting the basal hairs are short (3–4 millimetres (0.12–0.16 in)) in face and head, and increase in length toward the flanks and the belly to about 25–30 millimetres (0.98–1.18 in). Juveniles have woolly fur, and appear dark due to the densely arranged spots.
The leopard is often confused with the cheetah; however, the cheetah is marked with small round spots instead of the larger rosettes. Moreover, the leopard lacks the facial tear streaks characteristic of the cheetah. Other similar species are the clouded leopard and jaguar. The clouded leopard can be told apart by the diffuse "clouds" of spots compared to the smaller and distinct rosettes of the leopard, longer legs and thinner tail. The jaguar has rosettes that typically have spots within them, while those of leopards often do not.
Melanistic leopards are also called black panthers. Melanism in leopards is inherited as a trait relatively recessive to the spotted form. Interbreeding in melanistic leopards produces a significantly smaller litter size than is produced by normal pairings.
The black panther is common in the equatorial rainforest of the Malay Peninsula and the tropical rainforest on the slopes of some African mountains such as Mount Kenya. Between January 1996 and March 2009, Indochinese leopards were photographed at 16 sites in the Malay Peninsula in a sampling effort of more than 1000 camera trap nights. Of the 445 photographs of melanistic leopards, 410 came from study sites south of the Kra Isthmus, where the non-melanistic morph was never photographed. This data suggests the near fixation of the dark allele in the region. The expected time for the fixation of this recessive allele due to genetic drift alone ranged from about 1,100 years to about 100,000 years. Pseudomelanist leopards have also been reported.
In India, nine pale and white leopards were reported between 1905 and 1967.
Leopards exhibiting erythrism were recorded between 1990 and 2015 in South Africa's Madikwe Game Reserve and in Mpumalanga. The cause of this morph, also known as 'strawberry' leopard and pink panther, is little-understood.
The leopard is sexually dimorphic, males are larger and heavier than females. It is muscular, with relatively short limbs and a broad head. Males stand 60–70 cm (24–28 in) at the shoulder, while females are 57–64 cm (22–25 in) tall. The head-and-body length is typically between 90 and 190 cm (35 and 75 in). While males weigh 37–90 kg (82–198 lb), females weigh 28–60 kg (62–132 lb). These measurements vary geographically.
Usually, leopards are larger in areas where they are at the top of the food chain, without competitive restriction from larger predators such as the lion and tiger. Alfred Edward Pease accounted to have seen leopards in North Africa nearly as large as Barbary lions. In 1913, an Algerian newspaper reported of a leopard killed that allegedly measured about 275 cm (108 in). To compare, male lions measure 266–311 cm (105–122 in) from head to end of tail.
The maximum weight of a leopard is about 96 kg (212 lb), recorded in Southern Africa. It was matched by an Indian leopard killed in Himachal Pradesh in 2016 that measured 262 cm (103 in).
The leopard has the largest distribution of all wild cats, occurring widely in Africa as well as South, and Southeast Asia, although populations are fragmented and declining. Populations in North Africa may be extinct. It inhabits foremost savanna and rain forest, and areas where grasslands, woodlands, and riverine forests remain largely undisturbed. In sub-Saharan Africa, it is still numerous and surviving in marginal habitats where other large cats have disappeared. There is considerable potential for human-leopard conflict due to leopards preying on livestock.
In the Indian subcontinent, leopards are still relatively abundant, with greater numbers than those of other Panthera species. In India, leopard populations sometimes live quite close to human settlements and even in semi-developed areas. Although occasionally adaptable to human disturbances, leopards require healthy prey populations and appropriate vegetative cover for hunting for prolonged survival and thus rarely linger in heavily developed areas. Due to the leopard's superlative stealthiness, people often remain unaware that big cats live in nearby areas.
Leopards are active mainly from dusk till dawn and rest for most of the day and for some hours at night in thickets, among rocks or over tree branches. Leopards have been observed walking 1–25 km (0.62–15.53 mi) across their range at night; they may even wander up to 75 km (47 mi) if disturbed. In some regions, they are nocturnal. In western African forests, they have been observed to be largely diurnal and hunting during twilight, when their prey animals are active; activity patterns varies between seasons.
Leopards are known for their ability to climb and have been observed resting on tree branches during the day, dragging their kills up trees and hanging them there, and descending from trees headfirst. They are powerful swimmers, but not as disposed to swimming as the tiger and the jaguar. They are very agile, and can run at over 58 km/h (36 mph), leap over 6 m (20 ft) horizontally, and jump up to 3 m (9.8 ft) vertically.
The leopard is solitary and territorial. Adults associate only in the mating season. Females continue to interact with their offspring even after weaning, and have been observed sharing kills with their offspring when they can not obtain any prey. In Kruger National Park, most leopards tend to keep 1 km (0.62 mi) apart. Males interact with their partners and cubs at times, and exceptionally this can extend beyond to two generations. Aggressive encounters are rare, typically limited to defending territories from intruders. In a South African reserve, a male was wounded in a male–male territorial battle over a carcass. A few instances of cannibalism have been reported.
Leopards communicate with each other in tall grass using white spots on their ears and tails. They produce a number of vocalisations, including growls, snarls, meows and purrs. The roaring sequence in leopards consists mainly of grunts and is also known called "sawing", having been described as resembling the sound of sawing wood. Cubs are known to call their mother with a urr-urr sound.
Males occupy territories that often overlap with a few smaller female territories, probably as a strategy to enhance access to females. In the Ivory Coast, the home range of a female was completely enclosed within a male's. Females live with their cubs in territories that overlap extensively, probably due to the association between mothers and their offspring. There may be a few other fluctuating territories, belonging to young individuals. It is not clear if male territories overlap as much as those of females do. Individuals try to drive away intruders of the same sex.
A study of leopards in the Namibian farmlands showed that the size of territories was not significantly affected by sex, rainfall patterns or season; it concluded that the higher the prey availability in an area, the greater the population density of leopards and the smaller the size of territories, but territories tend to expand if there is human interference (which has been notably high in the study area). Territorial sizes vary geographically and depending on habitat and availability of prey. In the Serengeti, they are as small as 33–38 km2 (13–15 sq mi) for males and 14–16 km2 (5.4–6.2 sq mi) for females, and as large as 451 km2 (174 sq mi) for males and 188 km2 (73 sq mi) for females in northeastern Namibia. They are even larger in arid and montane areas. Territories recorded in Nepal's Bardia National Park, 48 km2 (19 sq mi) for males and 5–7 km2 (1.9–2.7 sq mi) for females, are smaller than those generally observed in Africa.
The leopard depends mainly on its acute senses of hearing and vision for hunting. It primarily hunts at night in most areas. In western African forests and Tsavo National Park, leopards have been also observed hunting by day.
The leopard is a carnivore that prefers medium-sized prey with a body mass ranging from 10–40 kg (22–88 lb). Prey species in this weight range tend to occur in dense habitat and to form small herds. Species that prefer open areas and developed significant anti-predator strategies are less preferred. More than 100 prey species were recorded. Impala, Thomson's gazelle, duiker, steenbok, bushbuck, warthog, water chevrotain, blue wildebeest, sitatunga, Bates's pygmy antelope, aardvark, nyala, and kudu are frequently taken in Africa, and chital, muntjac, sambar, four-horned antelope, deer, Nilgiri tahr, gaur and wild boar in Asia. Primate prey species preyed upon include Colobus, Mangabey, Cercopithecus, langur and, less frequently, also gorilla and baboon. Small mammals preyed upon include black-backed jackal, Cape fox, African civet, genets, hares, porcupine and rock hyrax. Prey as heavy as a 550 kg (1,210 lb) giraffe is hunted if larger carnivores such as lions or tigers are absent. The largest prey killed by a leopard was reportedly a male eland weighing 900 kg (2,000 lb).
The leopard stalks the prey and tries to approach as close as possible, typically within 5 m (16 ft) to the target, and finally pounces on it and kills it by suffocation. It kills small prey with a bite on the back of the neck, but holds larger animals by the throat and strangles them. It is able to take large prey due to its massive skull and powerful jaw muscles, and is therefore strong enough to drag carcasses heavier than itself up into trees; an individual was seen to haul a young giraffe, weighing nearly 125 kg (276 lb), up 5.7 m (19 ft) into a tree. Kills are cached up to 2 km (6,600 ft) apart. Small prey is eaten immediately, while larger carcasses are dragged over several hundred metres and safely cached in trees, bushes or even caves to be consumed later. The way the kill is stored depends on local topography and individual preferences; while trees are preferred in Kruger National Park, bushes are preferred in the plain terrain of the Kalahari.
Analysis of leopard scat in Taï National Park revealed that primates, except chimpanzee and potto, are primary leopard prey during the day. In a reserved forest of southern India, species preyed upon by leopard, dhole and striped hyena overlapped considerably.
A study in Wolong National Nature Reserve in southern China demonstrated variation in the Indochinese leopard's diet over time; over the course of seven years, the vegetative cover receded, and leopards opportunistically shifted from primarily consuming tufted deer to pursuing bamboo rats and other smaller prey. Average daily consumption rates of 3.5 kg (7.7 lb) were estimated for males and of 2.8 kg (6.2 lb) for females. A study in the southern Kalahari showed that leopards met their water requirements by the bodily fluids of prey and succulent plants; they drink water every two to three days, and feed infrequently on moisture-rich plants such as gemsbok cucumbers (Acanthosicyos naudinianus), tsamma melon (Citrullus lanatus) and Kalahari sour grass (Schmidtia kalahariensis). A few instances of cannibalism have been reported.
Leopards must compete for food and shelter with other large predators such as tigers, lions, cheetahs, spotted hyenas, striped hyenas, brown hyenas, up to five species of bear and both African and Asiatic wild dogs. These animals may steal the leopard's kill, devour its cubs or even kill adult leopards. Leopards co-exist alongside these other large predators by hunting for different types of prey and by avoiding areas frequented by them. Leopards may also retreat up a tree in the face of direct aggression from other large carnivores but leopards have been seen to either kill or prey on competitors such as black-backed jackal, caracal, African wild cat and the cubs of lions, cheetahs, hyenas, and wild dogs.
Resource partitioning occurs where leopards share their range with tigers. Leopards tend to take smaller prey, usually less than 75 kg (165 lb), where tigers are present. In areas where the leopard is sympatric with the tiger, coexistence is reportedly not the general rule, with leopards being few where tigers are numerous. The mean leopard density decreased significantly (from 9.76 to 2.07 animals per 100 km2) when the mean density of tigers increased (from 3.31 animals/100km2 to 5.81 animals/100km2) from 2004–5 to 2007–8 in the Rajaji National Park in India following the relocation of pastoralists out of the park. There, the two species have high dietary overlap, and an increase in the tiger population resulted in a sharp decrease in the leopard population and a shift in the leopard diet to small prey (from 9% to 36%) and domestic prey (from 6.8% to 31.8%).
In Nepal's Chitwan National Park, the Bengal tiger coexists with the Indian leopard because there is a large prey biomass, a large proportion of prey is of smaller size, and dense vegetation exists. Here leopards killed prey ranging from less than 25 kg (55 lb) to 100 kg (220 lb) in weight with most kills in the 25–50 kg (55–110 lb) range; tigers killed more prey in the 50–100 kg (110–220 lb) range. There were also differences in the microhabitat preferences of the individual tiger and leopard followed over five months (December to April); the tiger used roads and (except in February) forested areas more frequently, while the leopard used recently burned areas and open areas more frequently. Usually when a tiger began to kill baits at sites formerly frequented by leopards, the leopards would no longer come and hunt there. In the tropical forests of India's Nagarhole National Park, tigers selected prey weighing more than 176 kg (388 lb), whereas leopards selected prey in the 30–175 kg (66–386 lb) range. In tropical forests, they do not always avoid the larger cats by hunting at different times. With relatively abundant prey and differences in the size of prey selected, tigers and leopards seem to successfully coexist without competitive exclusion or inter-species dominance hierarchies that may be more common to the leopard's co-existence with the lion in savanna habitats. In areas with high tiger populations, such as in the central parts of India's Kanha National Park, leopards are not permanent residents, but transients. They were common near villages at the periphery of the park and outside the park.
In the mid-20th century, Northeast Asian leopards were absent or very rarely encountered in the Primorye region of the Russian Far East at places where Siberian tigers roamed. Surveys conducted at the beginning of the 21st century revealed that the range of both species overlaps in this region, especially in protected areas where ungulate densities are high and human disturbance is low.
Occasionally, Nile crocodiles prey on leopards of any age. One large adult leopard was grabbed and consumed by a large crocodile while attempting to hunt along a bank in Kruger National Park. Mugger crocodiles have reportedly killed an adult leopard in India. Lions are occasionally successful in climbing trees and fetching leopard kills. Leopards are also known to kill or prey on lion cubs. In the Kalahari Desert, leopards frequently lose kills to the brown hyena, if the leopard is unable to move the kill into a tree. Single brown hyenas have been observed charging at and displacing male leopards from kills. Burmese pythons have reportedly preyed on leopards, and an adult leopard was recovered from the stomach of a 5.5 m (18 ft) specimen.
In some areas of Africa, troops of large baboon species (potential leopard prey themselves) will kill and sometimes eat leopard cubs if they discover them. George Schaller wrote that he had seen carcasses of a leopard and a gorilla, and that both had wounds.
Depending on the region, leopards may mate all year round. In Manchuria and Siberia, they mate during January and February. The estrous cycle lasts about 46 days and the female usually is in heat for 6–7 days. Gestation lasts for 90 to 105 days. Cubs are usually born in a litter of 2–4 cubs. Mortality of cubs is estimated at 41–50% during the first year.
Females give birth in a cave, crevice among boulders, hollow tree, or thicket to make a den. Cubs are born with closed eyes, which open four to nine days after birth. The fur of the young tends to be longer and thicker than that of adults. Their pelage is also more gray in colour with less defined spots. Around three months of age, the young begin to follow the mother on hunts. At one year of age, leopard young can probably fend for themselves, but remain with the mother for 18–24 months.
The average typical life span of a leopard is between 12 and 17 years. The oldest recorded spotted leopard was a female named Roxanne living in captivity at McCarthy's Wildlife Sanctuary in The Acreage, Palm Beach County, Florida. She died August 8, 2014 at the age of 24 years, 2 months and 13 days. This has been verified by the Guinness Book of World Records. Previously, the oldest recorded leopard was a female named Bertie living in captivity in the Warsaw Zoo. She died in December 2010 at the age of 24. The oldest recorded male leopard was Cezar, who reached the age of 23. He also lived at the Warsaw Zoo and was Bertie's lifelong companion. The generation length of the leopard is 9.3 years.
Leopards have been known to humans throughout history, and have featured in the art, mythology, and folklore of many countries where they have historically occurred, such as ancient Greece, Persia, and Rome, as well as some where they have not existed for several millennia, such as England. The modern use of the leopard as an emblem for sport or a coat of arms is much more restricted to Africa, though numerous products worldwide have used the name. During the Benin Empire, the leopard was commonly represented on engravings and sculptures and was used to symbolise the power of the king or oba; since the leopard was considered the king of the forest. Leopards were also kept and paraded as mascots, totems and sacrifices to deities. As a result of their association with kings in Africa, the leopard's pelt is often seen today as a symbol of aristocratic rank, chiefs using it as a part of their traditional regalia.
The lion passant guardant or leopard is a frequently used charge in heraldry, most commonly appearing in groups of three. The heraldic leopard lacks spots and sports a mane, making it visually almost identical to the heraldic lion, and the two are often used interchangeably. These traditional lions passant guardant appear in the coat of arms of Dalmatia and the coat of arms of England and many of its former colonies; more modern naturalistic (leopard-like) depictions appear on the coat of arms of several African nations including Benin, Malawi, Somalia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Gabon, which uses a black panther.
Leopard domestication has also been recorded—several leopards were kept in a menagerie established by King John at the Tower of London in the 13th century; around 1235, three of these animals were given to Henry III by Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II.
In protected areas of several countries, wildlife touring programs and safari ventures offer sightings of leopards in their natural habitat. While luxury establishments may boast the fact that wild animals can be seen at close range on a daily basis, the leopard's camouflage and propensity to hide and stalk prey typically make leopard sightings rare. In Sri Lanka's Yala National Park, leopards have been ranked by visitors to be among the least visible of all animals in the park despite their high concentration in the reserve.
In South Africa, safaris are offered in numerous nature reserves such as the Sabi Sand Game Reserve. In Sri Lanka, wildlife tours are available in the Yala and Wilpattu National Parks. In India, safaris are offered in the Madhya Pradesh and Uttarakhand national parks as well as in the Pali district of western Rajasthan.
Most leopards avoid people, but humans may occasionally be targeted as prey. Most healthy leopards prefer wild prey to humans, but injured, sickly, or struggling cats or those with a shortage of regular prey may resort to hunting humans and become habituated to it. Although usually slightly smaller than a human, an adult leopard is much more powerful and easily capable of killing one. Two extreme cases occurred in India: the first leopard, "the Leopard of Rudraprayag", killed more than 125 people; the second, "the Panar Leopard", was believed to have killed more than 400. Both were killed by the renowned hunter and conservationist Jim Corbett. Man-eating leopards are considered bold and difficult to track by feline standards and may enter human settlements for prey, more so than lions and tigers. Author and big game hunter Kenneth Anderson had first-hand experience with many man-eating leopards, and described them as far more threatening than tigers:
Although examples of such animals are comparatively rare, when they do occur they depict the panther [leopard] as an engine of destruction quite equal to his far larger cousin, the tiger. Because of his smaller size he can conceal himself in places impossible to a tiger, his need for water is far less, and in veritable demoniac cunning and daring, coupled with the uncanny sense of self-preservation and stealthy disappearance when danger threatens, he has no equal.— Kenneth Anderson, Nine Man-Eaters and One Rogue, Chapter II "The Spotted Devil of Gummalapur"
There is something very terrifying in the angry grunt of a charging leopard, and I have seen a line of elephants that were staunch to a tiger, turn and stampede from a charging leopard.— Jim Corbett, The Temple Tiger and More Man-Eaters of Kumaon, chapter "The Panar Man-Eater"
The African leopard (Panthera pardus pardus) is the leopard nominate subspecies native to many countries in Africa. It is widely distributed in most of sub-Saharan Africa, but the historical range has been fragmented in the course of habitat conversion. Leopards have been recorded in North Africa as well.Amur leopard
The Amur leopard (Panthera pardus orientalis) is a leopard subspecies native to the Primorye region of southeastern Russia and northern China. It is listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List. In 2007, only 19–26 wild leopards were estimated to survive in southeastern Russia and northeastern China. It was considered as one of the rarest cats on Earth.As of 2015, fewer than 60 individuals were estimated to survive in Russia and China. Camera-trapping surveys conducted between 2014 and 2015 revealed 92 individuals in a 8,398 km2 (3,242 sq mi) large transboundary area along the Russian-Chinese border.Results of genetic research indicate that the Amur leopard is genetically close to leopards in northern China and Korea, suggesting that the leopard population in this region became fragmented in the early 20th century. The North-Chinese leopard was formerly recognised as a distinct subspecies P. p. japonensis, but was subsumed under the Amur leopard in 2017.Big cat
The term "big cat" is typically used to refer to any of the five living members of the genus Panthera, namely tiger, lion, jaguar, leopard, and snow leopard.
Except the snow leopard, these species are able to roar.
A more liberal and expansive definition of the term includes species outside of Panthera including the cougar, clouded leopard, Sunda clouded leopard and cheetah, although these added species also do not roar.Despite enormous differences in size, various cat species are quite similar in both structure and behaviour, with the exception of the cheetah, which significantly stands out from the other big and small cats. All cats are carnivores and efficient apex predators. Their range includes the Americas, Africa, and Asia.Black panther
A black panther is the melanistic color variant of any big cat species. Black panthers in Asia and Africa are leopards (Panthera pardus), and those in the Americas are jaguars (Panthera onca).Clouded leopard
The clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa) is a wild cat occurring from the Himalayan foothills through mainland Southeast Asia into China. Since 2008, it is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. Its total population is suspected to be fewer than 10,000 mature individuals, with a decreasing population trend, and no single population numbering more than 1,000 adults. It is also known as the mainland clouded leopard, to distinguish it from the Sunda clouded leopard (Neofelis diardi). It is the state animal of the Indian state of Meghalaya.Leopard 1
The Leopard (or Leopard 1) is a main battle tank designed and produced in West Germany that first entered service in 1965. Developed in an era when HEAT warheads were thought to make conventional heavy armour of limited value, the Leopard focused on firepower in the form of the German-built version of the British L7 105-mm gun, and improved cross-country performance that was unmatched by other designs of the era.
The design started as a collaborative project during the 1950s between West Germany and France, and later joined by Italy, but the partnership ended shortly after and the final design was ordered by the Bundeswehr, with full-scale production starting in 1965. In total, 6,485 Leopard tanks have been built, of which 4,744 were battle tanks and 1,741 were utility and anti-aircraft variants, not including 80 prototypes and pre-series vehicles.
The Leopard quickly became a standard of European forces, and eventually served as the main battle tank in over a dozen countries worldwide. Since 1990, the Leopard 1 has gradually been relegated to secondary roles in most armies. In the German Army, the Leopard 1 MBTs were phased out in 2003, while Leopard 1 derived vehicles are still widely used. The Leopard 2 MBTs have taken over the MBT role. Leopard hulls have been re-used in a wide variety of roles.Leopard 2
The Leopard 2 is a main battle tank developed by Krauss-Maffei in the 1970s for the West German Army. The tank first entered service in 1979 and succeeded the earlier Leopard 1 as the main battle tank of the German Army. It is armed with a 120 mm smoothbore cannon, and is powered by a V-12 twin-turbo diesel engine. Various versions have served in the armed forces of Germany and 12 other European countries, as well as several non-European nations, including Canada, Chile, Indonesia, Singapore, and Turkey. The Leopard 2 was used in Kosovo with the German Army, and has seen action in Afghanistan with the Dutch, Danish and Canadian contributions to the International Security Assistance Force, as well as also seeing action in Syria with the Turkish Armed Forces against ISIS and the YPG.
There are two main development batches of the tank: the original models up to Leopard 2A4, which have vertically faced turret armour, and the improved batch, namely the Leopard 2A5 and newer versions, which have angled arrow-shaped turret appliqué armour together with other improvements. All models feature digital fire control systems with laser rangefinders, a fully stabilised main gun and coaxial machine gun, and advanced night vision and sighting equipment (first vehicles used a low-light level TV system or LLLTV; thermal imaging was introduced later on). The tank has the ability to engage moving targets while moving over rough terrain.Leopard cat
The leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis) is a small wild cat native to continental South, Southeast and East Asia. Since 2002 it has been listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List as it is widely distributed although threatened by habitat loss and hunting in parts of its range.Historically, the leopard cat of continental Asia was considered the same species as the Sunda leopard cat. As of 2017, the latter is recognised as a distinct species, with the taxonomic name Prionailurus javanensis.Leopard cat subspecies differ widely in fur colour, tail length, skull shape and size of carnassials.
Archaeological evidence indicates that the leopard cat was the first cat species domesticated in Neolithic China about 5,000 years ago in Shaanxi and Henan Provinces.Leopard seal
The leopard seal (Hydrurga leptonyx), also referred to as the sea leopard, is the second largest species of seal in the Antarctic (after the southern elephant seal). Its only natural predators are the killer whale. It feeds on a wide range of prey including cephalopods, other pinnipeds, krill, birds and fish. It is the only species in the genus Hydrurga. Its closest relatives are the Ross seal, the crabeater seal and the Weddell seal, which together are known as the tribe of lobodontini seals. The name hydrurga means "water worker" and leptonyx is the Greek for "small clawed".Leopard tortoise
The leopard tortoise (Stigmochelys pardalis) is a large and attractively marked tortoise found in the savannas of eastern and southern Africa, from Sudan to the southern Cape. It is the only member of the genus Stigmochelys, although in the past it was commonly placed in Geochelone. This tortoise is a grazing species that favors semi-arid, thorny to grassland habitats. In both very hot and very cold weather they may dwell in abandoned fox, jackal, or aardvark holes. Leopard tortoises do not dig other than to make nests in which to lay eggs. Given its propensity for grassland habitats, it grazes extensively upon mixed grasses. It also favors succulents and thistles.Louisiana Catahoula Leopard dog
The Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog is an American dog breed named after Catahoula Parish, Louisiana, United States. Also known as the Catahoula Leopard Dog or Louisiana Catahoula, it became the state dog of Louisiana in 1979. The breed is sometimes referred to as the "Catahoula Hound" or "Catahoula Leopard Hound" because of its spots, although it is not a true hound but a cur. It is also called the "Catahoula Hog Dog", reflecting its traditional use in hunting wild boar.MacOS
macOS (; previously Mac OS X and later OS X, Roman numeral "X" pronounced "ten") is a series of graphical operating systems developed and marketed by Apple Inc. since 2001. It is the primary operating system for Apple's Mac family of computers. Within the market of desktop, laptop and home computers, and by web usage, it is the second most widely used desktop OS, after Microsoft Windows.macOS is the second major series of Macintosh operating systems. The first is colloquially called the "classic" Mac OS, which was introduced in 1984, and the final release of which was Mac OS 9 in 1999. The first desktop version, Mac OS X 10.0, was released in March 2001, with its first update, 10.1, arriving later that year. After this, Apple began naming its releases after big cats, which lasted until OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion. Since OS X 10.9 Mavericks, releases have been named after locations in California. Apple shortened the name to "OS X" in 2012 and then changed it to "macOS" in 2016, adopting the nomenclature that they were using for their other operating systems, iOS, watchOS, and tvOS. The latest version is macOS Mojave, which was publicly released in September 2018.
Between 1999 and 2009, Apple sold a separate series of operating systems called Mac OS X Server. The initial version, Mac OS X Server 1.0, was released in 1999 with a user interface similar to Mac OS 8.5. After this, new versions were introduced concurrently with the desktop version of Mac OS X. Beginning with Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, the server functions were made available as a separate package on the Mac App Store.macOS is based on technologies developed between 1985 and 1997 at NeXT, a company that Apple co-founder Steve Jobs created after leaving the company. The "X" in Mac OS X and OS X is the Roman numeral for the number 10 and is pronounced as such. The X was a prominent part of the operating system's brand identity and marketing in its early years, but gradually receded in prominence since the release of Snow Leopard in 2009. UNIX 03 certification was achieved for the Intel version of Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard and all releases from Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard up to the current version also have UNIX 03 certification. macOS shares its Unix-based core, named Darwin, and many of its frameworks with iOS, tvOS and watchOS. A heavily modified version of Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger was used for the first-generation Apple TV.
Releases of Mac OS X from 1999 to 2005 can run only on the PowerPC-based Macs from that time period. After Apple announced that they were switching to Intel CPUs from 2006 onwards, a separate version of Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger was made and distributed exclusively with early Intel-based Macs; it included an emulator known as Rosetta, which allowed users to run most PowerPC applications on Intel-based Macs. Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard was the sole release to be built as a universal binary, meaning that the installer disc supported both Intel and PowerPC processors. Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard was the first release to be available exclusively for Intel-based Macs. In 2011, Apple released Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, which no longer supported 32-bit Intel processors and also did not include Rosetta. All versions of the system released since then run exclusively on 64-bit Intel CPUs and do not support PowerPC applications.MacOS Server
macOS Server, formerly Mac OS X Server and OS X Server, is a separately sold operating system add-on which provides additional server programs along with management and administration tools for macOS.
Prior to version 10.7 (Lion), Mac OS X Server was a separate but similar Unix server operating system from Apple Inc. architecturally identical to its desktop counterpart Mac OS X. With the release of version 10.7 (Lion), Mac OS X and Mac OS X Server were combined into one release. A separate "server" operating system is no longer sold; the server-specific server applications and work group management and administration software tools from Mac OS X Server are now offered as macOS Server, an add-on package for macOS sold through the Mac App Store along with Workgroup Manager 10.8, available from the Apple support web site.These tools simplify access to key network services, including a mail transfer agent, AFP and SMB servers, an LDAP server, a domain name server, and others. Also included (particularly in later versions) are numerous additional services and the tools to manage them, such as web server, wiki server, chat server, calendar server, and many others.Mac OS X Leopard
Mac OS X Leopard (version 10.5) is the sixth major release of Mac OS X (now named macOS), Apple's desktop and server operating system for Macintosh computers. Leopard was released on October 26, 2007 as the successor of Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger, and is available in two editions: a desktop version suitable for personal computers, and a server version, Mac OS X Server. It retailed for $129 for the desktop version and $499 for Server. Leopard was superseded by Snow Leopard (version 10.6). Leopard is the final version of Mac OS X to support the PowerPC architecture as Snow Leopard functions solely on Intel based Macs.
According to Apple, Leopard contains over 300 changes and enhancements over its predecessor, Mac OS X Tiger, covering core operating system components as well as included applications and developer tools. Leopard introduces a significantly revised desktop, with a redesigned Dock, Stacks, a semitransparent menu bar, and an updated Finder that incorporates the Cover Flow visual navigation interface first seen in iTunes. Other notable features include support for writing 64-bit graphical user interface applications, an automated backup utility called Time Machine, support for Spotlight searches across multiple machines, and the inclusion of Front Row and Photo Booth, which were previously included with only some Mac models.
Apple missed Leopard's release time frame as originally announced by Apple's CEO Steve Jobs. When first discussed in June 2005, Jobs had stated that Apple intended to release Leopard at the end of 2006 or early 2007. A year later, this was amended to Spring 2007; however on April 12, 2007, Apple issued a statement that its release would be delayed until October 2007 because of the development of the iPhone.Mac OS X Snow Leopard
Mac OS X Snow Leopard (version 10.6) is the seventh major release of Mac OS X (now named macOS), Apple's desktop and server operating system for Macintosh computers.
Snow Leopard was publicly unveiled on June 8, 2009 at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference. On August 28, 2009, it was released worldwide, and was made available for purchase from Apple's website and its retail stores at the price of US$29 for a single-user license. As a result of the low price, initial sales of Snow Leopard were significantly higher than that of its predecessors. The release of Snow Leopard came nearly two years after the introduction of Mac OS X Leopard, the second longest time span between successive Mac OS X releases (the time span between Tiger and Leopard was the longest).
Unlike those of previous versions of Mac OS X, the goals of Snow Leopard were improved performance, greater efficiency and the reduction of its overall memory footprint. Addition of new end-user features was not a primary consideration: its name signified its goal to be a refinement of the previous OS X version, Leopard. Much of the software in Mac OS X was extensively rewritten for this release in order to take advantage fully of modern Macintosh hardware. New programming frameworks, such as OpenCL, were created, allowing software developers to use graphics cards in their applications. This is also the first Mac OS release since System 7.1.1 that does not support Macs using PowerPC processors, as Apple now intends to focus on its current line of Intel-based products. As support for Rosetta was dropped in OS X Lion, Snow Leopard is the last version of Mac OS X that is able to run PowerPC-only applications.
Snow Leopard was succeeded by Mac OS X Lion (version 10.7) on July 20, 2011. For some time on, Apple continued to sell Snow Leopard from its online store for the benefit of users that required Snow Leopard in order to upgrade to later versions of OS X, which have all been distributed through the Mac App Store introduced in the Snow Leopard 10.6.6 update.Snow Leopard was the last release of Mac OS X to support the 32-bit Intel Core Solo and Intel Core Duo CPUs. Because of this, Snow Leopard still remained somewhat popular alongside Mac OS X Tiger, despite its lack of continued support, mostly because of its ability to run PowerPC-based applications as Rosetta was dropped in Mac OS X Lion.
Snow Leopard was also the last release of Mac OS X to ship with a welcome video at first boot after installation. Reception of Snow Leopard was positive.
Although Snow Leopard has been officially out of support since 2014, it remains available for purchase both on Apple's App Store, and in the form of boxed DVD-ROMs available through Apple's online store.Panthera
Panthera is a genus within the Felidae family that was named and first described by the German naturalist Lorenz Oken in 1816. The British taxonomist Pocock revised the classification of this genus in 1916 as comprising the species lion, tiger, jaguar, and leopard on the basis of cranial features. Results of genetic analysis indicate that the snow leopard also belongs to the Panthera, a classification that was accepted by IUCN Red List assessors in 2008.The tiger, lion, leopard, and jaguar are the only felines with the anatomical structure that enables them to roar. The primary reason for this was formerly assumed to be the incomplete ossification of the hyoid bone. However, new studies show the ability to roar is due to other morphological features, especially of the larynx. The snow leopard does not roar. Although it has an incomplete ossification of the hyoid bone, it lacks the special morphology of the larynx.Snow leopard
The snow leopard (Panthera uncia), also known as the ounce, is a large cat native to the mountain ranges of Central and South Asia. It is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species because the global population is estimated to number less than 10,000 mature individuals and decline about 10% in the next 23 years. It is threatened by poaching and habitat destruction following infrastructural developments.The snow leopard inhabits alpine and subalpine zones at elevations from 3,000 to 4,500 m (9,800 to 14,800 ft), ranging from eastern Afghanistan to Mongolia and western China. In the northern range countries, it also occurs at lower elevations.Taxonomically, the snow leopard was initially classified in the monotypic genus Uncia. Since 2008, it is considered a member of the genus Panthera based on results of genetic studies. Two subspecies were described based on morphological differences, but genetic differences between the two have not been confirmed. It is therefore regarded a monotypic species.Sunda clouded leopard
The Sunda clouded leopard (Neofelis diardi) is a medium-sized wild cat native to Borneo and Sumatra. It is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List since 2015, as the total effective population probably consists of fewer than 10,000 mature individuals, with a decreasing population trend. On both Sunda islands, it is threatened by deforestation.In 2006, it was classified as a species, distinct from the clouded leopard in mainland Southeast Asia. Its fur is darker with a smaller cloud pattern.It is also known as the Sundaland clouded leopard, Enkuli clouded leopard, Diard's clouded leopard, and Diard's cat.Trek–Segafredo (men's team)
Trek–Segafredo (UCI team code: TFS) is a professional road bicycle racing team at UCI WorldTeam level licensed in the United States. Formerly RadioShack–Nissan, in 2014, Trek took over the ownership of the team and its ProTeam License.
Extant Carnivora species