Close-up of a sitting Amur leopard


Its muscular yet graceful stealth makes the leopard a prize sighting on safari, but it's not just spots that make for super-effective camouflage. The black form can be just as elusive in the forest, remaining unseen only a few metres away, the twitch of a tail the only giveaway to its resting place on a tree branch. Leopards are skilled climbers, carrying carcasses heavier than themselves up trees and descending head first. There are recognised subspecies living in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, and may be others as yet unidentified. Leopards were once found from the British Isles to Japan.

Did you know?
A leopard can be individually identified by the pattern of spots on its coat.

Scientific name: Panthera pardus

Rank: Species

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Map showing the distribution of the Leopard taxa

Species range provided by WWF's Wildfinder.

The Leopard can be found in a number of locations including: Africa, Asia, China, Himalayas, Indian subcontinent, Russia. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.


The following habitats are found across the Leopard distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web

Conservation Status

Near Threatened

  1. EX - Extinct
  2. EW
  3. CR - Threatened
  4. EN - Threatened
  5. VU - Threatened
  6. NT
  7. LC - Least concern

Population trend: Decreasing

Year assessed: 2008

Classified by: IUCN 3.1


BBC News about Leopard

Video collections

Take a trip through the natural world with our themed collections of video clips from the natural history archive.