Leopard lost at Leopard Wildlife Preserve

Leopard lost at Leopard Wildlife Preserve

4 January 2012

In late December 2011, an inspector from the Leopard Wildlife Preserve told Mr Lukarevsky, unit head of the permanent RAS expedition in the southwest Primorye Territory, that he had uncovered the remains of a collared leopard in the preserve.


This was an adult Far Eastern male leopard named Uzor, tagged in the fall of 2011. At the time of capture, the animal weighed 62 kg, was in good health and five to six years old. It was tagged with a GLONASS/GPS/Argos collar and released in the same spot where it had been captured.


The photos taken by camera traps set by the permanent expedition at the end of September (two weeks after Uzor had been captured and tagged), show that the animal was in great shape. Later, on November 1 and 9, 2011, Uzor was captured on camera twice on one of the ridges. The leopard was in good shape in these pictures as well.


Reserve inspectors claim that the leopard died before the first snowfall during the period between November 10 and 15. This could have happened at a time when the leopard was moving from one hunting ground to another. The evidence gathered at the scene suggests that the leopard had most likely been killed by a poacher.


The tragic events may have unfolded as follows: judging by the terrain and animal paths known to zoologists, Uzor was moving along the Amba River under the cliffs heading in the direction of the river flow. There’s a terrace within 30-50 metres below the cliffs, which is where the animal was likely shot by a poacher.


The poacher was shooting from above from a distance of 130-150 metres. He could have mistaken the leopard for a deer, because this is a densely forested area. Upon seeing the dead collared leopard, the poacher may have decided to leave the leopard and flee.