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Traces of endangered leopard reported in northeast China

Updated: Nov 5,2014 7:56 PM     Xinhua

CHANGCHUN — Chinese authorities believe they have found traces of the rare Amur leopard in the country’s northeast.

Forestry officials in Shulan City, Jilin province, confirmed the existence of the leopard after analyzing hair samples collected at a site where a domestic animal had been mauled to death.

“After comparing DNA, we concluded it was an Amur leopard,” Bi Jingji, division head of Shulan’s forestry bureau, told Xinhua on Nov 5.

In late October Sun Jianwen, from Badao Village, discovered that one of his cattle had gone missing. The cattle’s carcass was found in a nearby ravine the next day, with one of its hind legs completely ripped off and injuries to a foreleg.

It was this information that sparked an investigation into the existence of the leopard in the area, Bi said.

One of the world’s most endangered species, the Amur leopard was included on the list of the animals under top grade national-level protection in 1983.

There are believed to be less than 50 wild Amur leopards left, mostly in the Far East area of Russia, China’s northeast and the northern part of the Korean Peninsular. China has around 10 of the leopards in the wild.

It was the first time the threatened big cat has been spotted in Jilin City, which administers Shulan City, in almost 20 years

Tang Jingwen, deputy secretary-general of the wildlife conservation association of Jilin City, said the ban on hunting in recent years has helped such leopards to multiply in Jilin province.