Korean journalists shooting film about rare wild cats in Primorye

Korean journalists shooting film about rare wild cats in Primorye

26 February 2016

The film crew of KBS, South Korea’s largest TV and radio broadcasting company, is making a film about Far Eastern leopards and Amur tigers, which once lived on the Korean peninsula, too, but were exterminated. The film is set in Land of the Leopard National Park in the Primorye Territory, with its researchers guiding the Korean journalists.


“Tigers and leopards are very significant in our culture. These wild cats are a national treasure that we began to appreciate too late. Now they only remain in our fairy-tales and legends,” said film producer Shin Dong-man. “This is why we are here, in Land of the Leopard, where there is a stable population of these predators and where successful efforts are being made to preserve and monitor their numbers. We came here with the idea of making a film called Why Did Leopards Die Out? but after talking to Land of the Leopard experts and seeing them work, I think the main idea should be more positive: Is It Possible to Bring Back the Leopard? Our visit to Primorye inspired the hope that we can provide conditions for the predators to thrive in if we put enough effort into it.”


Shin Dong-man also said he and his colleagues had not realised that the Russian government was so deeply involved in conserving tigers and leopards. By making their documentary about the rarest wild cat on Earth, the journalists expect to revive public discussion of the matter back in South Korea. KBS’s film will also be available online for Russian viewers in spring 2016.


Only a few decades ago, Far Eastern leopards lived all across the Korean peninsula, but the predator is now extinct. Now the South Korean government is looking to restore the ecological balance in the region. In 2004, it set up the Korean Foundation for the Conservation of Tigers and Leopards, which is doing research into the history of relations between man and wild cats on the Korean peninsula and the reasons behind the predators’ extinction as well as their potential reintroduction.