Meet Sochi the adorable Amur Leopard cub, one of the last members of his species (30 left in the wild)

Amur leopard at Denver Zoo
© Denver Zoo

Good news, bad news

Amur leopards got their name from the Amur region in eastern Russia. It was once possible to find them all the way from South-Korea to the border between China and Russia, but they are now extremely close to extinction ("Critically Endangered" on the IUCN Red List of Threatened species), with only about 30 individuals left in the wild due to poaching, loss of habitat and trophy hunting. That's the bad news. The good news is that a new amur leopard now walks this Earth. The young male cub is named Sochi after the host city for this year's olympics, and was born at the Denver Zoo to his mother Dazma (Dazz-mah) and father Hari-Kari (Harry Care-ee).

You can see the little one with his mother in the photos, and there's a video below so you can see the cuteness in motion.

© Denver Zoo

Sochi is the 10th amur leopard to be born at the Denver Zoo since 1989. There are so few individuals left in the wild that zoos are possibly this species' only hope.

© Denver Zoo

Amur leopards live further north than any other subspecies of leopard and have several adaptations for surviving in their cold, snowy climates. They have beautiful fur that is longer and paler than other leopards. In winter it can grow to nearly three inches long! In addition they have long legs to help them move through deep snow in search of prey. Amur leopards are also agile climbers and can leap 10 feet in the air. They can drag a kill up to three times their own weight into a tree to avoid competition from other predators.

Adult male Amur leopards can grow to weigh about 120 pounds and measure up to two-and-a half-feet tall at the shoulder and eight or nine-feet-long from head to tail. Among their tan to reddish brown bodies, they have spot patterns unlike any other leopards with large widely spaced black spots in the form of “rosettes” on the head, back, tail and legs. (source)

If you like leopards, you should definitely also check out the beautiful Clouded Leopard.

© Denver Zoo

Via Denver Zoo, Grist

See also: Frogs singing in Malaysian swamp at dusk judged to be 'most beautiful sound in the world'

Tags: Animals | Denver | Endangered Species

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