Reality show about a family of Far Eastern leopards

Reality show about a family of Far Eastern leopards

13 January 2014

The Land of the Leopard National Park and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) have created a series about the life of a large family of leopards using automatic hidden cameras. The film will be available for viewing online.


Using automatic cameras to identify leopards by their individual fur patterns has now become common practice. The photo monitoring project has been taking place for over a decade now.


However, a still photograph is only a captured moment in time. Researchers have always wanted to delve deeper into the lives of leopards and uncover the secrets of their behaviour. The Far Eastern leopard is one of the most secretive animals on the planet. For example, we know almost nothing about the upbringing of young cubs.


Therefore, when researchers learned in November 2013 that a female leopard called Kedrovka had once again given birth to three cubs (triplets are a rare occasion for Far Eastern leopards), the Land of the Leopard  National Park and the WWF Russia Amur branch launched a unique video monitoring project.


“Video monitoring is a breakthrough not only for Russia, but for the international research community as well,” Director of  the Land of the Leopard  National Park Andrei Borodin said. “Video monitoring of the rarest cat on earth is an unparalleled event.” Video traps were installed in late October, and we already had the first footage of a female with three cubs by early November. The new process made it possible to study the behaviour of wild animals without interfering in their lives, which until recently was impossible. The series about the life of this spotted family represents the first step on the path toward lifting the veil on the mysterious lives of these unique animals for everyone, not just researchers.”


Ten automatic cameras placed by employees of the park at precise times and locations have produced over 70 hours of unique footage of the life of a large family of leopards. The WWF experts spent over a month editing the footage taken by various cameras in order to put the pieces of this puzzle together.


Of course, the image quality leaves much to be desired, but it is good enough to tell an adult leopard from a cub and also identify cubs by their fur patterns. The project includes seven episodes, but the researchers believe that more is yet to come.


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