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Leopard by Pallitha Antony
The smallest of the big cats, the leopard has a beautiful pale yellow to deep golden coat splattered with black rosettes. The leopard is found in more places in the world than any other wild cat, thanks to its highly-adaptable nature. From the forests of North Africa to those of Southwest Asia, it is able to make the most of every opportunity it gets. Leopards are ‘meso-carnivores’, which means that they are both predator and prey. They have many interesting adaptations and behaviors to help in an encounter with a stronger animal, for example, a tiger or a lion that may want to steal a deer that it has killed. To counter this, leopards are great climbers of trees with massive neck muscles and super strong jaws with which to drag large kills up into the branches. The size of a leopard along with its coat and color varies according to its environment. The combined onslaught of poaching and habitat loss is taking a huge toll on leopard population everywhere. Whether they will remain so depends on whether humans protect or destroy their forests.