{ Panthera pardus japonensis/North Chinese Leopard }


Adoptions are an ideal way of helping save some of the rarest cats in the world, whether it be the smallest wild cat, the Sri Lankan rusty spotted cat, the rarest of all big cats, the Amur leopard or the largest of big cats, the magnificent Amur tiger.

Adopting helps with the cats husbandry, including food and veterinary care when required.

As an adopter you are able to visit on one of the Supporters Afternoons run throughout the year, (one visit per 12 month adoption period); where you will be able to tour our site at your leisure, enjoy talks from the keepers followed by light refreshments. There is also the opportunity of bringing up to 4 guests for a suggested donation of £25 each.



Ta’iri was born in a litter of three (3.0) and was the only surviving cub to female Sina at Menagerie du Jardin des Plantes. He came to WHF, The Big Cat Sanctuary at just under two years old. He is a very elusive cat and much prefers to sit and watch both keepers and guests from a high vantage point, where they cannot see him! He is finally starting to come round and will now come over to greet keepers on their daily checks, even now working up the courage to take handfeeds. He is a stunning example of a North Chinese with a beautiful coloured coat.

The leopard makes up one of the five ‘big cats’ in the genus Panthera. The North Chinese leopard is one of the remaining 9 recognised sub-species of leopard. Compared to the other members of Felidae, the leopard is very short, with an un-proportionally large body and head.

The coat pattern is very similar to that of a jaguar but the rosettes of a leopard are much smaller and densely packed. They are physically very similar to the Amur leopard but the coats are a slightly different shade, being almost orange in colour for some individuals. Both leopards and jaguar can be melanistic, meaning the coat appears black in colour. These animals have been historically, incorrectly, referred to as black panthers. This is much more common in Jaguar; however, and has only rarely been seen in the leopard population.

A very rare condition, called erythristicism, was noted in a wild leopard in 2008 meaning the coat has a red/strawberry coloured appearance.

The coat of the North Chinese is slightly longer than that of the other sub-species due to their native habitat being one of very cold temperature.

Historically they were thought to occupy areas of Beijing, the Ussuri region, Lanzhou and the Gobi desert. Their range is now much smaller and the population survives in small, isolated patches. As with most of the leopard sub-species, threats include loss of habitat and being killed for the fur and traditional medicine trades. Although not the biggest carnivore in their habitat, they are very successful. Well camouflaged fur, opportunistic hunting behavior and the strength to move large carcasses into trees aid them in their survival.

They are also capable of reaching speeds of up to 36mph.

Like the majority of the cat family, they are naturally solitary, only meeting when mating.