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With a total wild population of approximately 70 individuals, the Amur leopard is possibly the most endangered big cat on Earth. Along with the Amur tiger they can only be found in the Russian Far East and northern China, reported Siberian Times (Russia).
Airline Rossiya paints unique livery of an endangered Amur leopard on a Boeing 777-300.
The initiative is to highlight the campaign to save the animal, of which only 80 or so currently exist in the wild. The impressive muzzle of the big cat appears on the nose of the Boeing which will be used to fly to popular foreign holiday destinations as well as Russian cities.
While the species is recovering - in recent years there were as few as 30 of the animals in the wild - the leopard's future is by no means guaranteed. New controls on hunting, and the setting up of the Land of the Leopard National Park, have aided the fight against extinction.
The leopard is more vulnerable than the endangered Amur or Siberian tiger which also faces a battle for survival. The project was implemented in cooperation with NGO 'Far Eastern Leopards'.
Staff have nicknamed the 777 Leoplane - in Russian 'Leolyot'.
The Leojet has been named Ussuriysk, a city in the Primorsky region of eastern Russia, close to the natural habitat of the leopard. Its maiden flight will be from Moscow to Vladivostok, Russia's Pacific capital.
Rossiya Airlines is a daughter company of national carrier Aeroflot.
show source http://siberiantimes.com/ecology/others/news/n0888-flying-to-save-the-rarest-big-cat-in-the-world/