Lookout Below: Let's save an animal
By Mallory Stiles
When I was in fifth grade, I went on a field trip to see a movie I was sure I would hate. The title has long since escaped me, but to my surprise I loved it and will never forget it.
It was two hours of different shots of nature all around the world. I can still see the image of a baby duckling in leaves, set to that classical music that inspires wonder.
It was beautiful and, for the first time, I started to think of the earth as a bigger place – a place that was home to many different types of creatures, each one more magnificent than the last. I was captivated.
Yet, as I got older, I kept being told awful things, like how we were killing our forests, tainting our waters and pushing certain species into extinction.
Extinction always seemed the saddest, mostly because by definition it’s an irreversible problem. Some wonderous creation is just gone forever. Tragically, the animal closest to the verge of extinction in 2023, according to earth.org, is the Amur Leopard.
Amur Leopards are mostly found in Russia and China. They are true carnivores that eat mostly deer, boar and rodents. They can run up to 37 miles per hour and have spots that are unique to each leopard, much like the human fingerprint.
Between 2014 and 2015, there were only 92 individuals left in their natural range. Today that number is estimated to have dropped to 84.
Though there is jail time at stake, poachers hunt them still to this day; selling their fur and robbing them of their bones for use in traditional Asian medicine. Fires, both natural and man-made, continue to burn away their habitat, leaving them few places to hide.
Climate change also continues to endanger their food supply by changing the dynamics of the surrounding ecosystems. The fight to keep these guys around has never been more at a more crucial point.
What we can do to help is take our spare change and extra dollar bills and make donations here. Amur Leopards need our help and, together, I know we can make a difference.