Andrew spent two weeks in a hide in Kedrova Pad Reserve in the Russian Far East trying to photograph one of the world's rarest cats. Today, no more than about 25 Amur leopards survive. 'I spent 20 hours a day looking out through a gap the size of a letterbox,' says Andrew. 'Day after day, the only animals I saw were jays and tits.' But he had set up his hide near a feeding station, and eventually this young male arrived. Though nervous, it was more annoyed by a lurking jay, which it attempted to scare off by snarling. The population of the Amur leopard (a subspecies) has been decimated by poaching for its skin and bones, habitat destruction and loss of prey and is now also inbred - this leopard's father is probably his grandfather, too. Now Russian/Chinese plans for a transboundary park may lessen the likelihood of the Amur leopard becoming extinct in the near future if it can be given sufficient protection.
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Lure of the leopard appears in: