Leopards have lost 75 percent of historic range, study shows

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A new study says leopards have lost 75 percent of their historic range across Africa, Asia and the Middle East, with three Asian subspecies facing eradication.

A three-year review of data published in the scientific journal PeerJ challenges the conventional assumption that the spotted cats are thriving in the wild.

Instead, it says leopards have almost disappeared from vast ranges in China, Southeast Asia and much of the Arabian peninsula while African leopards confront mounting challenges in the north and west.

They are threatened by spreading farmlands, declining prey, conflict with livestock owners, trophy hunting and illegal trade in their skins and teeth.

The study was conducted by several groups, including the National Geographic Society's Big Cats Initiative, the wild cat conservation organization Panthera and the Zoological Society of London.