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Closed 05/08/2022
Dartmoor Zoological Society

Dartmoor Zoo Protecting Amur Leopards

Dartmoor Zoo needs your help to raise the money needed to build a new facility for critically endangered Amur leopards. We have been accepted into a breeding programme which will help to save this rare species from extinction.
raised of £30,000 target
by 75 supporters
Donations cannot currently be made to this page
Closed on 05/08/2022
RCN 1158422

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Dartmoor Zoological Society is a registered Charity situated near Plymouth on the edge of Dartmoor National Park. Our 33-acre site is home to hundreds of animals, many of which are threatened with extinction in the wild

The emphasis of Dartmoor Zoo's work is conservation and helping protect threatened species such as the Amur tiger, jaguar, Scottish wild cats, Asian short clawed otters and African grey crowned cranes to name but a few.

As we look to develop the future of Dartmoor Zoo, we have a huge ambition to provide a modern, exciting new facility for Amur leopards to breed and thrive.

Finding its home in the harsh climate of far east Russia, the Amur leopard is an elusive animal that is sadly critically endangered. With only around 90 of these big cats living in the wild, they remain one of the rarest species on Earth.

Their numbers have rapidly declined because of poaching, habitat loss and deforestation. There are also concerns that the small population results in inbreeding and fewer cubs surviving.

Wild Amur leopards are now only found in the border areas between the Russian Far East and North East China, and possibly North Korea. Their range is smaller than 2,500 sq km - that's an area smaller than Dorset!

The Amur leopard is adapted to a cool climate by having thick fur which grows up to 7.5cm long in winter and their coat is paler than other leopard species so they are camouflaged in the snow. They give birth to a litter of 2-3 cubs after a gestation period of around 12 weeks and the cubs stay with their mother for up to two years before becoming fully independent.

Amur leopards are top predators in their landscape so they are crucial for keeping the right balance of species in their location. Their presence also affects the health of the forests and the wider environment, all of which provides food, water and resources for people and other wildlife in that area.

Sadly, because the Amur leopards are so beautiful, their coats are prized among illegal wildlife traders, they are also hunted for their bones which are used in some traditional Asian medicines.

Climate change is having an impact - their forest habitat is shrinking along with the amount of prey, they are also competing for food with Amur tigers who are found in the same areas. Their limited population size and the lack of diversity in their population mean that Amur leopards are highly unlikely to adapt to any further habitat change in the future.

Our Project is to help bring Amur Leopards back from the brink of extinction by building a purpose-built facility at Dartmoor Zoo so we can help combat the obstacles this species is facing.

We will build state of the art accommodation for the world's most vulnerable big cat species whilst also growing connections with the species recovery project to support the conservation work which includes anti-poaching protection, monitoring, education, population control and reintroduction.

This exciting facility will help the leopards to thrive and breed and it will also enable us to educate and inform our visitors about the threats to habitats and environments across the world.

The project will see our existing quarry enclosure transformed into new accommodation including a new indoor space and off show facilities. The enclosure itself will be created into a representation of the Amur region, where these leopards originate from, and will be designed to offer visitors a close up experience with one of the world's most elusive big cats.

Dartmoor Zoo has just been accepted into the special breeding programme to continue the work already underway globally to widen the genetic diversity of this species located in zoos around the world.

We will be welcoming our first Amur leopard from a zoo in Europe this year. This is a huge and ambitious project that will continue for many years to come so we can really make a positive contribution to protecting this species for future generations.

By helping us to build our Amur leopard enclosure, you can be part of Dartmoor Zoo's most ambitious and important project to date.

Please email your dedication to partnership@dartmoorzoo.co.uk for approval. Dedication wording should be a maximum of 150 characters (inc spaces).

Supporter - The Meddings Group - Mark Dibbens, Managing Director

The Meddings Group is a local family run manufacturing company based in Lee Mill. The Meddings Group have many passions close to their heart but one of them is working closely with local organisations and charities to help where they can. The Fabrication division of Meddings is thrilled to be supporting Dartmoor Zoo with a new and exciting project that will help an endangered species. We cannot wait to get started.

Benjamin Mee - CEO Dartmoor Zoological Society

"With an estimated 60 breeding animals left in the wild, and with only around only 200 in European zoos, Amur leopards will definitely become extinct without the help of a re-introduction programme. Dartmoor Zoo is proud to be one of the few zoos in the UK selected to breed these critically endangered cats, and putting them back into the wild remains one of our most important strategic goals. We need your help to do this".

Benjamin James Chair of Dartmoor Zoos Board of Trustees

I am delighted that we are able to bring the Amur Leopard to Dartmoor Zoo. We have been working to increase the number of critically endangered species at the Zoo and to add this beautiful cat to our collection is the result of years of work. Without the support of zoos, this solitary species may become extinct! Be a part of the solution and please give generously to fund the infrastructure development we need to bring these cats to Dartmoor Zoo

Simon Almond Dartmoor Zoo Supporter and CEO of Devon Contract Waste

Having been involved with Dartmoor Zoo for eight years I have been part of and witnessed some huge changes, especially since the zoo became a charity in 2014. Many species in the collection have declined in the wild by some staggering amounts, which makes the conservation work undertaken at the zoo even more vital. It is no longer a concern for the future because it is happening right now and we simply have to take action. Devon Contract Waste are proud to support the charity and make a difference to global conservation. Any support you can give and money you can donate goes directly to the project and to the upkeep of the animals.

Q. What will happen if more money than is needed for the Amur leopard enclosure is received?

A. Donations received as a result of this campaign are not restricted and shall be applied to the general charitable purposes of the Charity. Therefore, if more money is received from this campaign than is needed, the additional donations will be used for the general charitable purposes of the Charity.

Q. What will happen if the Charity does not receive enough donations to pay for the new enclosure?

A. The Charity has committed to receiving Amur leopards, therefore, if this campaign does not reach its target, the money raised will be applied to the Amur leopard enclosure (and will not be returned to donors) and the Charity will need to stop other projects to divert money to the leopard project.

About the charity

Dartmoor Zoological Society

Verified by JustGiving

RCN 1158422
Our vision is to protect threatened species and enable people to help wildlife thrive. We're home to over 400 amazing animals, some are sadly vulnerable to extinction. It costs over £11,500 each week to feed and care for them. Your donations really do help.

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+ £258.25 Gift Aid
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