Xizi - The Big Cat Sanctuary


Panthera Pardus Orientalis/Amur LeopardCritically Endangered

Interesting facts about Xizi

  • Xizi was born at Helsinki Zoo in Finland on 8th June 2005 and arrived at The Big Cat Sanctuary in March 2007
  • Xizi is a wonderful mother, she had two litters of two cubs, the first time two male cubs, the second time, one of each
  • She was a superb mother to both sets of cubs and we are so proud of our beautiful girl who enabled us to contribute to the attributed global breeding programme not just once but twice
  • Her cubs have been transferred as part of the breeding programme as far as Hogle Zoo, Saltlake City UTAH and Hiroshima Zoo in Japan
  • Her off-spring have also had cubs making our incredible Xizi a proud grandmother
  • Xizi is a beautiful natured cat, feisty as every leopard, but the love heart shaped spot next to her eye defines her perfectly

Xizi's story

The Big Cat Sanctuary in 2007, at around 2 years old.
She has produced two sets of two cubs since being with us. In 2008, she bred with Artur and gave birth to two male cubs, Argun and Anuy.

Argun is currently at another collection in the UK, awaiting a female, whilst Anuy is at Hiroshima zoo in Japan and has himself fathered cubs, making Xizi a grandmother!

She also produced two cubs with Hogar in 2012, Manchurian and Zeya. Manchurian went to Prague to make a breeding pair and Zeya lives at Hogle Zoo in Saltlake City, Utah where she has also had cubs.

Xizi is easily recognisable by the marking behind her left eye, which is in the shape of a perfect love heart. She is a stunning leopard with a wonderful nature. After period of being very unwell early in 2022, Xizi had to have surgery which means she can no longer have cubs, she made a brilliant recovery at 18 years of age. This was an incredible outcome, after a worrying time, she is on superb form now and literally continues to live her best life.

Xizi loves marmite and she enjoys this regularly on boxes, hessian sacks and toys for enrichment. Age is just a number to this magnificent cat. She is quite possible genetically the most important cat ever to have lived at the Sanctuary. We are truly honoured.

About Amur leopards

Amur leopard reintroduction is something that has been in planning stages for some years now.   The Amur leopard is the first ever big-cat carnivore, to be reintroduced to the wild using animals from the captive breeding programme.  But why is it necessary for these big cats, whose population is already rebounding in the wild?

The number of Amur leopards had remained at such critically low numbers for a number of decades, it was deemed necessary that a reintroduction to create a secondary insurance population should happen in order to secure their future in the wild.

A reintroduction plan was prepared by a number of Russian and international organisations including the Ministry of Natural Resources, Primorski Krai Administration, Moscow Zoo, Lazovsky Zapovednik, ZSL and WCS amongst others.

Given political support and the necessary funding, it is possible that in 1-2 years from now preparations in situ (building of breeding and holding facilities and other infrastructure) will have beun. This could possibly and very sadly suffer repercussions of the war which would hamper progress.

With continued and greater conservation efforts in both Russia and China, we would expect to see an increase in the current wild population in the future.

Estimated that around only 100-110 Amur leopards remain in the wild, surviving on a dedicated conservation area in Russia, west of Vladivostok-the Primorskii Krai; this is the world’s most endangered big cat. By using holistic conservation strategies and protecting areas of this illusive cat’s habitats the population almost doubled over around ten years. This is the species that has become viable for the first time for the reintroduction programme. Having grown so fast over a decade is incredible, but these wild populations would now benefit from any new dna which could be introduced by the arrival of a new individual who would be completely unrelated to those currently living in the wild. This is a perfect example of when the co-ordinated breeding programmes are put into action. When the process will truly service to help conserve a healthy population of this species in the wild.

Reaching speeds of 37 mph and able to leap 20 feet horizontally and 10 feet vertically they are formidable predators; giving a suffocating vice like grip to the throat.

Being strong climbers they take a kill up a tree to eat alone. The main prey species of the Amur leopard are roe and sika deer along with hares and badgers.

Cat Care Gifts for Xizi

IUCN Red List Category Critically Endangered(CR)

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