Far Eastern Leopard to be returned to its habitat from the Reintroduction Centre

Far Eastern Leopard to be returned to its habitat from the Reintroduction Centre

31 May 2013

The Moscow Zoo has hosted a meeting with ALTA (The Amur [or Far Eastern – Ed.] Leopard and Tiger Alliance) coordinators on keeping and breeding the Far Eastern leopard and the Amur tiger in captivity. The programme is aimed at maintaining populations of these rare cats with high genetic diversity and potentially reintroducing them into their natural habitat.


The goal of reintroduction is to increase the population level and its recovery in places where the animals once lived before disappearing due to various factors. During the meeting, it was discussed whether zoos will provide Far Eastern leopards for the planned reintroduction in the Ussuri Nature Reserve and other areas of the Primorye Territory.


The Far Eastern Division of the Russian Academy of Sciences, with financial support from the Russian Geographical Society, has already built the Rehabilitation and Reintroduction Centre for Far Eastern Leopards in the Ussuri Nature Reserve, as part of the Programme for the Study, Preservation and Recovery of the Far Eastern Leopard in Russia's Far East, carried out by the Standing Expedition of the Russian Academy of Sciences on studying Red Data Book endangered animals, as well as other animals of particular importance. The Centre is ready to receive the animals from zoos, which was discussed during the meeting. Representatives of the Moscow Zoo, the Ministry of Natural Resources, the Federal Service for Supervision of Natural Resources, and the Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution also took part in the meeting.


There were also reports on the Amur tiger and the Far Eastern leopard populations in general, and in the Kedrovaya Pad Nature Reserve and Land of the Leopard National Park in particular. "Preserving and increasing the population of Far Eastern leopards is a priority of Land of the Leopard National Park," said Elena Salmanova, Acting Deputy Director for Science. "The research department seeks to examine key aspects of the Far Eastern leopard's ecology and biology, as it is necessary for developing and implementing measures to conserve these cats, the rarest in the world." Tara Harris, the programme coordinator for breeding Amur tigers in North America, came to Primorye to familiarise herself with the research. She noted that she was impressed with the volume and quality of scientific activities in Land of the Leopard National Park, and the enthusiasm of people she spoke to.