IUCN threat status:

Critically Endangered (CR)

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Biology

In the arid terrain of their habitat, Arabian leopards require large territories in order to find enough food and water to survive (4) (6). The male's territory usually overlaps those of one or more females, and is fiercely defended against other intruding males (4), although spatial overlap between male ranges is common (6). Despite males and females sharing a range, they are solitary animals, only coming together to mate, which is very vocal and lasts for approximately five days (4) (5). After a gestation period of around 100 days, a litter of one to four cubs are born in a sheltered area, such as a small cave or under a rock overhang (4) (5). During the first few weeks the female frequently moves her cubs to different hiding places to reduce their risk of being discovered (4). Although young open their eyes after about nine to ten days and begin to explore their immediate surroundings (5), they will not venture from the security of the den until at least four weeks old (6). Young are weaned by three months but remain with their mother for up to two years whilst they learn the skills necessary to hunt and survive on their own (4) (6). Traditional prey of the Arabian leopard include species such as the Arabian tahr (Hemitragus jayakari), mountain gazelle (Gazella gazella), Nubian ibex (Capra nubiana), Cape hare (Lepus capensis cheesmani) and Rock hyrax (Procavia capensis), but in some areas these species have declined so dramatically due to hunting and overgrazing that the leopards have been forced to occasionally prey upon domestic stock, bringing them into direct conflict with man (4) (5) (6) (8). Hunting usually occurs around dawn and dusk, thereby avoiding the midday heat (4) (9).

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Source: ARKive

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