Extinction Countdown, Scientific American Blog Network

February 24, 2015 8:18 PM

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The world’s rarest big cats have become ever-so-slightly less rare over the past decade. According to a census released this week, there are now at least 57 Amur leopards (Panthera pardus orientalis) in Russia. That may not seem like a lot but the subspecies only had about 30 cats there in 2007, so this number represents nearly a doubling of the population.

Now, you’d think that counting 57 big cats wouldn’t be all that hard. The thing is, these leopards are scattered across more than 36,000 hectares. To conduct this census scientists used camera traps to collect an amazing 10,000 photographs within the Land of the Leopard National Park, which encompas...

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