Far Eastern leopard leaves his ‘mark’ on camera trap

Far Eastern leopard leaves his ‘mark’ on camera trap

12 September 2014

Researchers at the Land of the Leopard National Park obtained unique video shots from the camera trap fixed at one of the park’s animal trails. They saw a leopard called Meamur demonstrating how to properly mark the territory in front of the trail camera. The leopard did not stop at that, and several days later, marked the camera, too.


The trail camera is installed on the mountain slope opposite a site offering a good view from above of leopards and other animals. Aware of that, scientists installed the camera just in the right place. Meamur, who was given his name by Mumiy Troll band lead singer Ilya Lagutenko, has been captured on video many times.


Appearing in front of the camera once every few days, Meamur can ignore the camera, peep at it or rub against it. This time, the well-known leopard decided to surprise his secret audience. Caught on camera, he scratched the site with his back paws rather defiantly, marked the territory with urine, gave a farewell look into the camera and retired.    


These shots alone were found valuable by scientists who never before had such a detailed video of the process. But Meamur went further. A couple of days later, he approached the camera, rubbed against it for quite a while, turned his back to the camera and scent marked it in the most typical cat manner.


“This has been the first registered case of a Far Eastern leopard marking a photo or video camera,” said Yelena Salmanova, deputy director for science and environmental education at Land of the Leopard National Park. “What is more, unlike tigers, leopards leave their scent on trees less frequently. Probably this time, the spotted predator chose the trap to show people who controls the territory.”


This is supported by the fact that leopards have previously demonstrated similar behaviour. There is a lean-to shelter near the marked camera trap. The shelter is used by photographers taking pictures of leopards in the wild. The local spotted cats often hear people’s voices and may “greet” the latter this way to show their discontent.   

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