Winter leopard count completed

Winter leopard count completed

15 March 2013

Owing to the coordinated action of all participants in the programme to restore the population of Far Eastern leopards, directed by head of the Presidential Administration Sergei Ivanov, their numbers have grown by almost 50%.


Participants in the programme include representatives of the Ministry of Natural Resources, the administration of the Primorye Territory, the World Wild Life Fund, the Far Eastern branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences and law-enforcement bodies.


Researchers established that there are at least 48-50 Far Eastern leopards in the Primorye Territory (50% more than in 2007) and 90% of them live in Leopard Land National Park, its protected area and Kedrovaya Pad Reserve.


The Far Eastern leopards are the most northern species and one of the rarest wild cats. In the latter half of the 19th century, the habitat of leopards became separated into three isolated areas. Economic development of local lands expanded the distance between these areas, and leopards stopped moving from one area to another. They gradually left Eastern Manchuria and disappeared from the southern slopes of the Sikhote-Alin Mountains. In the last 20 years, the habitat of Far Eastern leopards has nearly shrunk in half. At present, they only live in one area in Russia – the south-west of the Primorye Territory.


Specially protected areas play a decisive role in preserving these unique wild cats. Recently a number of important steps have been taken in this sphere. The Government has passed a resolution on establishing Leopard Land National Park on an area of 261,869 hectares; a united directorate for Kedrovaya Pad State Natural Biosphere Reserve and Leopard Land National Park; and a specially protected zone in the park.


Mr Ivanov has made an invaluable contribution to the efforts to preserve Far Eastern leopards. He has supervised the leopard programme since 2008. He supported the formation of the Federal Leopard Reserve, Leopard Land National Park and its protected area. He also backed a number of important management decisions and fostered cooperation between environmental agencies and border guards.


Mr Ivanov’s persistence has made it possible to launch a unique technical project in Russia – the construction of a tunnel in the area of Narvinsky Pass during the reconstruction of the Razdolnoye-Khasan Motorway. This tunnel is indispensable for preserving migration routes of wild animals, including Far Eastern leopards and Amur tigers.


Mr Ivanov also initiated the formation of a non-profit organisation, the Eurasian Leopard Preservation Centre, for raising funds from sponsors and spending them on Far Eastern leopards.


The Ministry of Natural Resources attributes the growth in the number of Far Eastern leopards in the last few years to the Government’s policy on preserving biological diversity and the effective cooperation of environmental, public and research organisations.


Further development and steady functioning of specially protected natural areas in the Primorye Territory and plans for cross-border cooperation with China and North Korea are laying the foundation for raising the natural population of Far Eastern leopards to 100-120 species, which will guarantee their survival.


For Reference:


Work to establish Leopard Land National Park started in 2011, in accordance with Government instructions, with a view to preserving the flora and fauna of southwestern Primorye Territory, including the sole surviving population of Far Eastern leopards in the world.


Kedrovaya Pad State Biosphere Reserve is one of the oldest in Russia. Established in 1925, it occupies over 18,000 hectares in the Khasan District of the Primorye Territory. This land is the habitat of Far Eastern leopards and Amur tigers. There are only about 30 Amur tigers left in the world.

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