The critically endangered cat will be helped by plans to reintroduce them to the Russian far east
Russia’s Ministry of Natural Resources have agreed to begin releasing captive Amur leopards to boost wild populations. The cats will be reintroduced into the state nature reserve Lazovsky Zapovednik in the south-east tip of the country. Now this has been agreed, cats from facilities around the globe can be transported to their native home. Read about how Amur leopards will make their way back into the wild in the red panda edition of World of Animals.
This solitary hunter has been under threat for decades. Once roaming a vast landscape, the surrounding areas have been claimed for logging and farming. This left the leopard isolated in a small patch of land, surrounded by danger on all sides. Their numbers shrank to only 25, leaving a tiny population of related cats.
Though the situation seemed bleak, conservation groups, researchers and government forces banded together to bring the cat back. Conservation strategies included establishing new wildlife refuges, prohibiting poaching and re-routing planned pipelines that would have torn through leopard habitat.
These measures have paid off, and Amur leopard numbers are on the rise. Though not out of the woods, there is real hope for the cat’s recovery. The plans to release captive cats into the wild can now fall into place as facilities across the globe work to breed leopards that will eventually repopulate their native home.
Image from flickr.com/photos/tambako