The Zanzibar Leopard (Panthera pardus adersi) is an elusive and possibly extinct subspecies of leopard endemic to Unguja Island in the Zanzibar archipelago, part of Tanzania. Increasing conflict between people and leopards in the 20th century led to their demonization and determined attempts to exterminate them. Efforts to develop a leopard conservation programme in the mid-1990s were shelved when wildlife researchers concluded that there was little prospect for the animal's long-term survival.---------------The evolutionary history of the Zanzibar Leopard parallels that of other endemics on Unguja, including the Zanzibar Servaline Genet and the Zanzibar Red Colobus. It is thought to have evolved in isolation from the African Leopard since at least the end of the last ice age, when the island was separated from mainland Tanzania by rising sea levels. The founder effect and adaptation to local conditions produced a smaller leopard than its continental relatives and one which “changed its spots”, or rather saw its more numerous rosettes partially disintegrate into spots.----------------Serious attention was not paid to the Zanzibar leopard's plight until the mid-1990s, by which time some authorities were already listing it as extinct. A leopard conservation program was drafted by the CARE-funded Jozani-Chwaka Bay Conservation Project, but abandoned in 1997 when wildlife researchers failed to find evidence for the leopard's continuing presence in and around Jozani Forest.------------------
Local wildlife officials, however, have remained more optimistic about the leopard's survival, and some Zanzibaris have proposed approaching alleged leopard keepers in order to ask them to display their leopards to paying visitors. Villagers sometimes offer to take tourists or researchers to see "domesticated" leopards in return for cash, but so far none of these "kept leopard chases" has been known to end in a successful sighting.