Showing posts with label amur leopard. Show all posts
Showing posts with label amur leopard. Show all posts

Monday 29 November 2021

Should 'leopard' be capitalized?

No, the word "leopard" should not be capitalised because it is a common noun but there are some exceptions which I discuss below when the word becames part of an individual cat's name. 

None of the wild cat species should be capitalised including the lion and tiger. It's interesting, however, that you still see the names of wild cat species sometimes capitalised. 

I believe that there was a convention perhaps a hundred years ago when these nouns were capitalized. Grammar, after all, is an artificial convention. It is not an absolute set of rules set in stone. 

Humans decide what is and what isn't acceptable in terms of grammar and the current thinking is that the word "leopard" should not be capitalised and neither should any other name of the wild cat species. 

Sometimes, however, you will see a lion that has been named because they are famous i.e. 'Cecil the Lion'. Clearly, the whole name should be capitalised as all names are. The whole name is 'Cecil the Lion'. The intervening 'the' should stay in lowercase.

Sometimes man-eating leopards have been named such as the the Leopard of Rudraprayag; a leopard reputed to have killed over 125 people. It was eventually killed by hunter and author Jim Corbett who has a tiger reserve named after him in the north of India.

The cat has been given a name and the full name is as stated. In this case the word 'leopard' is capitalized as it is part of a proper name (proper noun). Once again the intervening 'of' is in lowercase.

Amur leopard
Amur leopard. Photo in the public domain.

And when there is a prefix which tells you where the cat is from, the pre-fix should be capitalized as is the case for: Amur leopard and Siberian tiger for instance.

Thursday 7 June 2012

A Very Important Cat Event

Two Amur leopards have been born in captivity at the Wildlife Heritage Foundation (WHF) in Smarden, Kent, UK. Why is this an important world cat event? There are thought to be about 35-40 Amur leopards in the wild in the far east of Russia, in a region called Primorskii Krai through which the River Amur flows. It is also the region where the Amur tiger lives (Siberian tiger).

I think this figure of 35-40 is actually incorrect. It comes from newspapers and is the conventional view but a more scientific and modern assessment is 12 Amur leopards in the wild. Yes, exactly 12. Strange isn't it? 

Add to that the 100-140 Amur leopards in captivity in Europe as part of a European breeding program and you have about 150 Amur leopards in the world excluding those in America and other continents. It seems there are about 200-300 in captivity in total worldwide. They are the rarest big cats in the world.

It would seem doubtful that the wild Amur leopard can survive because of genetic diversity - it is too low and inbreeding sets in causing sterility. Habitat loss is a major threat. The leopard has the widest range of all the wild cats. The Amur leopard is one of 9 subspecies of the leopard.

It is sad to think that these cute little cubs will never live in the wild. See a page on the leopard.

Interested? Why do leopards have spots?

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