Amur Leopard: Quite easily, the most beautiful animal I saw at the Oregon Zoo. It was lying down, real close to the viewing window, so I was able to zoom in tight and shoot several pictures. It never turned its head - always staring straight ahead like this.
Encyclopedia entry: The Amur leopard is the rarest of the big cats, and is in danger of dying out in the wild. They are suffering from habitat loss and are especially vulnerable to natural disasters, such as fire, because of their fragmented range. Amur leopards prefer to live in forested territory, but most of the forest in which they live is surrounded by farms and villages, making poaching easier. Perhaps fewer than thirty of these elusive felines remain in the wild.
Photo: Oregon Zoo, Portland, Ore.