2019: People want to know how many Amur leopards are left in the wild. The date is important as numbers are relentlessly declining. The premier authority on the subject and the organisation which has the best up-to-date knowledge is the IUCN Red List. So what do they say? It is disappointing as usual. They say that there are less than 60 Amur leopards in the wild on the planet.
They describe the animal as critically endangered. I’d say so. If you search the internet for the answer you’ll find some variations.
Google highlights the National Geographic answer which states 60. But this is wrong. It is less than 60 and there is no specified number below that 60 ceiling. So the experts don’t know.
Scientific American say 30. Panda.org say 57.
All we can say is that the world does not know how many Amur leopards are in the wild at 2019 but it is probably below 60 and the number is declining.
And can less than 60 wild cats of one species, in the wild, sustain that population even if they are left entirely alone? There might be inbreeding which leads to infertility as is the case with the Florida panther. If that is the case it can only be a slow downhill run to extinction in the wild in due course.
I have little faith in the IUCN. I feel that the organisation is compromised by a conflict of interest due to being part funded by organisations who support trophy and sport hunting. I don’t have evidence to support this supposition. It is a hunch. The IUCN continually understate the endangerment of many wild species which places the animals in a position where governments allow them to be hunted.
There is so much money in hunting and in the trade of wild species and body parts that it is almost certain that an organisation like the IUCN is going to be under pressure to loosen their classification to allow hunting of certain animals. The big wild cats are exposed to crazy trophy hunters who love to kill big cats. They don’t want some pain in the arse scientists telling them that the cat is endangered and therefore cannot be shot so they bribe them.