An extensive international study of leopard populations emphasizes the need for changes in the Red Book classification of leopards in general and several specific sub-species. National Geographic breaks down the research and conclusions.
The study comes as the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is expected to change its official Red List status for leopards this year. The big cat is expected to be listed as vulnerable, an upgrade in severity from the previous listing of near threatened. Some subspecies of the leopard may also receive a listing of endangered or critically endangered.
Leopards in southern Africa have the most stable population thanks to pioneering work being done by private game reserves. Two that have active community based programs are Naankuse in Namibia and Phinda in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal.