Conservation Status: Near Threatened
Habitat: Africa, Asia, Middle East, and Siberia
Leopards are graceful and powerful big cats and the smallest of the Panthera family. Many of their populations are endangered, especially outside of Africa.
Leopards are versatile, opportunistic hunters, and have a very broad diet.The leopard is so strong and comfortable in trees that it often hauls its kills into the branches. By dragging the bodies of large animals aloft it hopes to keep them safe from scavengers such as hyenas or larger predators like lions.
When human settlements are present, leopards often attack dogs, livestock, and even occasionally people - however most leopards avoid people.
Leopards are aloof and secretive. Their distinctive light coloration with distinctive dark spots that are called rosettes (because they resemble the shape of a rose) help them blend in with their surroundings. Black leopards (melanistic), which appear to be almost solid in color because their black spots are hard to distinguish against their dark brown fur, are commonly called black panthers. However, the two color variations are not separate sub-species. You will often see black leopards in more tropical areas like rain-forests.