Project Pardus is the first comprehensive conservation program to span the leopard’s range.
Project Pardus is the first conservation program to span the leopard’s range. Despite the species’ broad range, it is likely the most persecuted big cat in the world.
Panthera’s scientists are dedicated to understanding where sustainable leopard populations currently exist or can be rebuilt, and implementing conservation actions to reduce leopard killings. In partnership with local and national governments, corporations, NGOs and local communities, Panthera’s efforts focus on monitoring leopard population trends, stopping the illicit fur trade, reducing human-leopard conflict, stabilizing and increasing prey populations, and reducing unsustainable legal trophy hunting.
Panthera has initiated and supported conservation projects that protect leopards in 30 countries, across Africa, the Middle East and tropical Asia. Panthera will continue to develop successful, sustainable conservation models and expand Project Pardus’s reach into other parts of the leopard’s range.
Leopards exist in approximately 75 countries across much of Africa and Eurasia. Panthera’s Project Pardus operates in 30 leopard range countries
Leopards have the largest range of all the big cats, and occupy a variety of habitats, from the Congo rainforest to the deserts of the Middle East.
See leopard range map
Furs for Life Leopard Project
Although the international trade in leopard skin is illegal, local communities in Africa and Asia still use real leopard skins, often worn as capes, for religious and cultural ceremonies. Panthera’s Furs For Life Leopard project is providing a sustainable, culturally-sensitive solution: using fake skins to save real leopards.
The State of the Leopard
The leopard is likely the most persecuted large cat in the world. Extinct in six countries and possibly extinct in six additional countries, leopards have vanished from at least 49 percent of their historic range in Africa and 84 percent of their historic range in Eurasia.
The species is threatened by illegal killing for their skins and other body parts used for ceremonial regalia, conflict with local people, rampant bushmeat poaching, and poorly managed trophy hunting.
Leopards are listed as "Near Threatened" on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, though they will almost certainly be uplisted to "Vulnerable" in 2015. The leopard is classified as "Endangered" in Central Asia and Sri Lanka and "Critically Endangered" in the Middle East, Russia, and on the Indonesian island of Java.
"The leopard's beautiful skin is a primary reason it is the world's most persecuted big cat. And in my years of work to protect the leopards of southern Africa, I've realized the only way to stop the hunting of leopards for their skins is to address the problem head-on – with creativity and respect for local religion and culture."
- Tristan Dickerson, Coordinator, Panthera's Furs For Life Leopard Project
In South Africa, Panthera's Furs for Life Leopard Project is providing an innovative and real solution to a threat that is decimating leopard populations. Very rarely in the world of conservation do you see a resolution this simple and respectful of cultural and religious traditions that is so swiftly accepted by local communities.