The leopard (Panthera pardus) has a beautiful rosette patterned coat and is the most widespread of all the big cats. The leopard occurs across both Africa and Asia however in just a few decades has lost more than 30% of its range.

Leopard (Panthera pardus) Unique Facts

~ Most widespread of the big cats ~

~ Melanism (black coat) is quite common ~

~ Occupies diverse habitats at all altitudes ~

Leopard (Panthera pardus) - Panthera lineage
African Leopard in Etosha National Park, Namibia
Image by Patrick Giraud, CC-BY-SA-3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Image Source

 

Leopard (Panthera pardus) Classification

The taxonomy or scientific classification of the leopard species (Panthera pardus) is as follows:

Kingdom: Animalia   (animals)

Phylum: Chordata   (vertebrates)

Class: Mammalia   (mammals)

Order: Carnivora   (carnivores)

Suborder: Feliformia   (cat-like)

Family: Felidae   (cats)

Genus: Panthera   (big cats)

Species: Panthera pardus (leopard)

 

Leopard (Panthera pardus) Subspecies (lower classification)

Currently nine subspecies of leopard are recognized based on genetic analysis. There are a further two subspecies based on morphological analysis alone (not listed here).

Leopards at the species level globally are listed as Vulnerable (VU) with the Mediterranean region as Critically Endangered (CR) on the IUCN Red List.

The status and taxonomy of the subspecies is currently under assessment - the status of the subspecies recognized as at 2008 is shown here.

  • Panthera pardus pardus - African Leopard
  • Panthera pardus nimr - Arabian leopard (CR Critically Endangered)
  • Panthera pardus saxicolor - Persian leopard (EN Endangered)
  • Panthera pardus melas - Javan leopard (CR Critically Endangered)
  • Panthera pardus kotiya - Sri Lankan leopard (EN Endangered)
  • Panthera pardus fusca - Indian leopard
  • Panthera pardus delacouri - Indochinese leopard
  • Panthera pardus japonensis - North Chinese leopard (EN Endangered)
  • Panthera pardus orientalis - Amur leopard (CR Critically Endangered)

References:

  1. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2016-3. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Panthera pardus. 7 Feb 2017.
  2. IUCN Cat Specialist Group - Cats in the Red List. 7 Feb 2017.

 

Leopard (Panthera pardus) Conservation

The following organizations are all fighting to conserve our beautiful leopards in the face of persecution, trophy hunting and habitat loss:

 

Leopard (Panthera pardus) Facts and Information

The following links will take you to websites with well researched and authoritative information on leopards:

Recommended Books about all Wild Cats

Wild Cats of the World - Luke Hunter Luke Hunter 2015
(general and academic interest)
Wild Cats of the World - eBook

The Wild Cat Book - Sunquist Fiona and Mel Sunquist 2014
(general interest)
The Wild Cat Book - eBook

Small Wild Cats - Sanderson and Watson J. Sanderson & P. Watson 2011
(general interest)
Small Wild Cats - eBook

Biology and Conservation of Wild Felids D.Macdonald & A.Loveridge 2010
(academic interest)
eTextbook version

Wild Cats of the World - Sunquist Mel and Fiona Sunquist 2002
(general and academic interest)