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

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) 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)

Subfamily: Pantherinae (big cats / pantherine)

Genus: Panthera (big cats)

Species: Panthera pardus (leopard)


Leopard (Panthera pardus) Subspecies (lower classifications)

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 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)


  1. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2016-3. <>. 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:

Male African leopard stretching


Leopard (Panthera pardus) Facts and Information

The following websites have well researched and authoritative information on leopards:

  • Leopard Fact Sheet - ARKive
  • Leopard Images and Video Clips in the Wild - ARKive
  • Leopard Infographic - Panthera

Leopard Art Prints by Barbara Keith (available with or without frames)

Images copyright Barbara Keith

Leoaprd Art - Felicitous by Barbara Keith
Leopard Print - Felicitous by Barbara Keith
Leopard Art - Shadow Hunter by Barbara Keith
Leopard Print - Shadow Hunter by Barbara Keith
Leopard Art - Potency by Barbara Keith
Leopard Print - Potency by Barbara Keith