Scientific name

Panthera pardus


17 to 65 kilograms (37 to 143 pounds)


1.6 to 2.3 meters in length (5 to 7.5 feet) About 60 to 70 centimeters in height (2 to 2.5 feet)

Life span

Average 10 to 12 years in the wild. Up to 23 years in captivity.


Desert and semi-desert regions, arid regions, savanna grasslands, mountainous environments, rainforests, and occasionally urban areas.



2.5 months


Listed as 'vulnerable' in
There are
recognized subspecies
Native to more than
African countries


The leopard’s coat does not belong on humans.

These big cats have long been hunted for their soft fur — used to make coats and ceremonial robes — as well as for their claws, whiskers, and tails, which are popular as fetishes. 

Leopards can be a nuisance to locals.

When brought into close contact with human settlements, they may prey on livestock. Pastoralists will retaliate and kill the big cats in retribution or will attempt to exterminate them in order to prevent livestock killings.

The primary threat to the leopard is human activity

Habitat fragmentation, reduced prey base, and human-wildlife conflict have greatly reduced this species’ population throughout most of their range. Although they are widely distributed across Africa and Asia, due to habitat fragmentation and loss, their range has reduced by 31 percent worldwide in the past three generations (about 22 years). The commercialized bushmeat trade has caused a collapse of prey populations across large parts of savanna Africa — estimated an average of 59 percent decline in prey populations across 78 protected areas.


Our solutions to conserving the leopard:

Community Empowerment
Work with communities that live near leopards:

African Wildlife Foundation works closely with pastoralist communities to institute preventative measures to protect livestock from predation. In Tanzania, AWF builds bomas for communities living in close proximity to carnivores. These are predator-proof enclosures keep livestock safe from carnivores. By taking proactive steps we are able to prevent both livestock and carnivore deaths.

Use Global Positioning System (GPS) collars to study leopards.

AWF believes the key to ensuring the future of the leopard lies in an integrated approach to conservation that looks not only at the species itself but at the needs of local people, land use, and the ecosystem as a whole. This approach to conservation led AWF to launch Greater Kruger Leopard Conservation Science Project in the Kruger National Park area in South Africa. AWF researchers have placeds GPS collars on individuals to study their populations, evaluate research competition with other carnivores, and study this species interactions with people.



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