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Unique Leopard Species Struggles to Survive

Arabian leopards are the smallest leopard species. Scientists consider this species to be closely related to the African leopard. Like many leopards around the globe, the Arabian leopard lives an isolated lifestyle.

Arabian leopard’s fur ranges from pale yellow, golden brown, tawny or grey. Their coat is patterned with dark spots called rosettes. Male leopards are 72-80 inches long with tails that measure 30-33 inches long. Male Arabian leopards can weigh up to 66 pounds, while females usually weigh about 45 pounds. This makes the Arabian leopard the largest native cat living in the Arabian Peninsula.

The geographic range of the Arabian leopard is not well understood but is currently known to be limited to the Arabian Peninsula. This includes the Sinai Peninsula in the northeastern part of Egypt. These leopards prefer to live in mountain areas and hills, but can also be found in the open plains and lowlands. They like to live in remote areas away from humans. These regions allow the leopards to have rugged terrains for shelter, shade, water, and a large variety of prey.

Arabian leopards are mostly nocturnal, but sometimes can be seen during the day. They hunt a variety of small and medium animals. They store carcasses of large prey in caves and lairs.

The country of Saudi Arabia makes up for the majority of the land in the Arabian Peninsula. This has caused the population of the Arabian leopard in Saudi Arabia and its prey to decrease, this led to Arabian leopards hunting livestock. Locals now consider them a threat which causes them to kill the leopards using poison or snares. Human poaching has a huge impact on the Arabian leopards making natural predators a threatening factor. The Arabian leopard species is near extinction in Saudi Arabia.

It is important to understand the Arabian leopards and their impact on human populations. With greater understanding, we can help develop plans where humans and Arabian leopards can coexist without creating threats to eachother’s livelihoods.

[Sources: World Wildlife Atlas; Pbskids.com]

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