Sergei Ivanov hands out awards to border guards for reporting injured leopard cub

Sergei Ivanov hands out awards to border guards for reporting injured leopard cub

6 September 2015

Sergei Ivanov, Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office and Chair of the Supervisory Board of the Far Eastern Leopards autonomous non-profit organisation, has presented honorary certificates to five border patrol officers for spotting and reporting a leopard that was apparently injured by poachers. The award ceremony was held on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok.


These border patrol officers found a Far Eastern leopard cub with an injured paw in the Land of the Leopard National Park near the Chinese border in early June 2015. Seeing that the animal needed medical attention, the guards reported its location to National Park representatives who, along with other specialists, saved the animal.


Speaking at a panel discussion, “To Sustainable Development: Business and Biodiversity Conservation,” Sergei Ivanov said that the decision to hand out awards to the border patrol agents had been taken jointly by the Russian Geographical Society, Far Eastern Leopards autonomous non-profit organisation and Russia’s Federal Security Service. The honorary certificates went to senior warrant officer Ruslan Chizhov, lieutenant Aidys Kuular, senior warrant officer Sergei Petchanin, sergeant Bolat Izkenov and sergeant Samir Khalilov.


“Not only did they [border patrol officers] do the right thing, but they did so in a very competent manner. When they discovered the leopard, they did not attempt to approach it in order not to stress the wildcat; they called the experts who provided the proper care. No guidelines or regulations explain this, especially when it comes to the Federal Security Service’s border patrol units. Leopards are not violators, they are not people crossing the border illegally, and it is not the duty of border patrol officers to report such incidents. They simply showed some compassion, and we are grateful for that,” Sergei Ivanov said.


The management of the Land of the Leopard National Park also thanked the border guards.


“Cooperation between the national park and the border guard is a very important aspect of environment protection efforts, particularly when it comes to preserving the rarest wildcat in the world. We hope cooperation with the Federal Security Service’s border guard will continue, and we see great prospects for pathfinder initiatives and combating poaching on the Russian and Chinese side of the border,” Tatyana Baranovskaya, Director of the Land of the Leopard, said.


The injured leopard, called Leo 80M by national park specialists, is being treated at the Centre for the Rehabilitation and Reintroduction of Tigers and Other Rare Animals. An expert council is expected to meet this fall to determine whether the leopard is ready to return into the wild.