NEW YORK, Nov. 15 (UPI) -- A U.S.-led team of biologists has captured one of the last members of a species that is the world's most endangered big cat: a Far Eastern leopard.
The international team, led by researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society, reported the find last week.
One of only 30 left in the wild, the 100-pound male leopard was captured in a series of snares set by scientists to catch big cats for genetic analysis.
The leopard was studied by scientists from the WCS, the Russian Academy of Sciences, and the U.S. National Cancer Institute.
The examination included medical evaluations, genetic analyses, and other bio-medical tests. With only 30 remaining in the wild -- all in Russia's Southwest Primorye Province -- the Far Eastern leopard is extremely endangered, so concerns about the species' genetic status are great.
"This capture represents a milestone in our cooperative efforts to save the Far Eastern leopard and Siberian tiger from extinction," said Dale Miquelle, director of the WCS's Russia Program. "With the information gained from these animals, and others to come, we will be in a much better position to determine appropriate conservation actions."