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International Leopard Day 2024 - Raising Awareness & Conservation

International Leopard Day - May 3rd 2024

International Leopard Day is marked on the 3rd of May each year. This awareness raising day is a relatively new addition to the calendar, added only last year following on from the inaugural Global Leopard Conference in 2023. This marks a significant step forward in recognising the vulnerability and importance of protecting this species.

Nature and wildlife are a constant inspiration for my artwork and, as such, I am passionate about raising awareness. I keep an eye out for "notable days" such as these as an opportunity to research and share what I learn. The sources for this blog are listed at the end, with links, if you want to learn more.

Leopards are such beautiful, magnificent creatures that, of course, they have featured in my artwork. This design is a customer favourite and features on both an A3 print and a greetings card.

Original coloured pencil drawing of a leopard by Louise Brook entitled "Contemplation in Camouflage" together with the reference photograph.
"Contemplation in Camouflage" drawn from a photograph taken by my Mum on safari in 2019.

Leopard Facts

  • Most leopards are light coloured with dark spots called “rosettes”. There are also black leopards, but their spots are hard to see because their fur is so dark.

  • Leopards live in Sub-Saharan Africa, northeast Africa, Central Asia, India and China.

  • Leopards can run at up to 36mph (58km/h) and can leap 6m through the air.

  • Leopards are very solitary and spend most of their time alone. They have their own territory, which they mark with scratches on trees and scent marks to warn other leopards to stay away. Males and females will cross territories, but only to mate.

  • Leopards are skilled climbers, and like to rest in the branches of trees during the day. They often carry their prey up into the trees so that scavengers don’t steal their meal.

  • Leopards are nocturnal animals, venturing out at night in search for food. They sped their days mainly resting, camouflaged in the trees or hiding in caves.

  • Female leopards give birth any time of year, generally to two or three cubs. Mothers stay with their cubs until they are about two years old and can hunt and fend for themselves.

  • Leopards communicate with each other through distinctive calls. When a male wants to make another leopard aware of his presence, he’ll make a hoarse, raspy cough; they growl when angry and, like domestic cats, purr when happy and relaxed.

Leopard Conservation

  • Leopards are versatile and adaptable in terms of their habitat and prey, but despite this adaptability the species has lost 75% of it's historical distribution.

  • Leopards are classified as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, and the current population trend is decreasing.

  • The most endangered leopard subspecies is the Amur Leopard, which is native to the Russian Far East and parts of China. it is estimated that there are less than 100 Amur Leopards left in the wild, making them one of the most critically endangered big cats in the world.

  • Leopards are wide-roaming territorial animals that need large tracts of continuous suitable habitat in order to thrive. The main threat to leopard survival is habitat destruction, and increasing fragmentation of their remaining habitats by urban and agricultural development.

  • Other main threats include:

  • Depletion of their prey base

  • Persecution due to conflict with people over livestock

  • Trophy hunting,

  • Poaching (for body parts and skins)

  • Road accidents

  • Fires

The solution

Addressing the root causes of their decline, such as habitat loss and poaching, and mitigating the impacts of climate change, is essential.

This International Leopard Day consider: Supporting conservation organizations (such as those references at the end of this blog); Spreading awareness (share this blog, or your own take on International Leopard Day, talk to your friends and family); Reduce your ecological footprint, as climate change is a major contributing factor to the threats faced by leopa

Research Sources

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