North China Leopard, Panthera pardus japonensis

The North China leopard (Panthera pardus japonensis) is a subspecies of the leopard that can be found in northern areas of China. Its range is extremely fragmented. The average weight of this species varies between males and females, with males reaching a weight of 110 pounds and females reaching a weight of 71 pounds. It is similar in size to the Indochinese leopard, but differs slightly in color, growing shorter and darker fur.

As is typical to leopard species, the North China leopard lives alone, with the exception of mating pairs and mothers with young. Both males and females hold a territory, and these usually overlap. The mating season for this subspecies occurs between the months of January and February. After a pregnancy period between 105 and 110 days, a litter of up to three cubs is born. The cubs weigh only one pound at birth, open their eyes at around ten days of age, and are weaned at up to 24 months of age. The diet of this subspecies consists mainly of wild boar and deer, but it will consume many other types of prey including rodents, birds, and insects. The North China leopard appears on the IUCN red List with a conservation status of “Near Threatened.”

Image Caption: North China leopard (Panthera pardus japonensis) seen through the glass of its cage. From the zoological garden of the Jardin des Plantes in Paris. Credit: Marie-Lan Nguyen/Wikipedia