The Leopard or Panther (Panthera pardus) is a species of feline of the subfamily Pantherinae. This feline has a fawn coat with rosettes on it; a melanic form also exists. Excellent climber and jumper, the leopard has the particularity of hoisting its prey to the fork of a tree to put them out of reach of other predators.
A solitary and opportunistic feline, the leopard is widely distributed in Africa and Southeast Asia over many habitat types. However, the size of the population is considered to be decreasing by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, which classifies the species as almost threatened. Five subspecies are considered to be in danger or critically endangered: the Arabian leopard, the Amur leopard, the Java leopard, the Ceylon leopard and the Persian leopard.
The leopard has an important place in some African cultures where the animal, considered as the king of animals, is the attribute of leaders. The secret society Aniota can be considered as the origin of legends about leopard men, equivalent to Western werewolves. In Europe, the leopard is described for the first time in bestiaries as a vile animal resulting from an adulterous crossing between the lion (leo) and a legendary feline, the pard. This reputation as a cruel and bloody animal lasted at least until the 16th century. The image of the cat is often used in advertising (Dulux Valentine for example) or in the arts, such as the famous Pink Panther.
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