I went to the zoo yesterday. And standing around the Amur leopard enclosure for two hours made me realize all over again just how much I love these amazing animals. More than any other animal there, it seems, these guys have the most expressive, powerful eyes.
Sadly, the cat in this photo (named Freddy) passed away in October of 2008. He was one of only a small handful of Amur leopards left in captivity. There are less than 35 of his kind in the wild. His loss was difficult for me not only because I knew and worked with him, but because it symbolized the potential end of a struggling species. I may one day show this photo to my children and have to explain that, because of humans' inability to live in peace with big cats, they will never have the opportunity to see an Amur leopard.
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