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Last Updated: Monday January 24 2005 11:14 GMT

Pipeline threat to rare leopard

Amur leopard
The rarest cat in the world is under threat because a planned pipeline could ruin their environment, experts warn.

There are only 30 Amur leopards left in the wild, but Russia has agreed that a pipeline can be laid in the cats' only remaining habitat.

Experts say this could be a disaster for the animals, and are asking the Russian government to rethink the plan.

Forest fires and expanding towns have already pushed the big cat towards extinction.

The leopards live in the wild along a stretch of Russia's eastern coast. There are now more of the cats living in captivity than in the wild.

The pipeline will pass through this area and experts working with the Zoological Society of London say this could wipe out the creatures in the wild for good.

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