New phase in Far Eastern leopard count kicks off

New phase in Far Eastern leopard count kicks off

29 November 2017

Land of the Leopard National Park has started to replace its camera traps with new ones. At this new phase of the project, over 350 motion-sensor cameras will constantly be monitoring rare cats.


Specialists from the national park have calculated that in order to obtain the best results, camera traps have to be installed at intervals of three to five kilometres on both sides of a leopard’s trail. It is necessary to capture both sides of a leopard to identify the animal by his or her unique spot pattern.  


So far in 2017, 15 new leopard cubs have been spotted in Land of the Leopard National Park. The figure may appear to be much higher by the end of the new phase of the monitoring project.


During the installation of new cameras, national park staffers happened to encounter the master of the territory and record a video of the predator. “My colleague and I spotted a leopard’s prey, a roe deer, while the hunter himself was also close to the site, just several dozen metres away,” said Gleb Sedash, an engineer and researcher at the national park’s research department. “Clearly, the predator noticed us much earlier and rushed to hide. As we knew that the leopard may return to his prey, we installed a camera trap running in video mode by the roe deer carcass.  The next day, we received new footage of the Far Eastern leopard, who decided to take his prey to a different place.”


The final results of monitoring based on camera traps in 2017 will be released in the spring of next year after examining the cameras installed in late autumn and winter this year. Specialists believe that the project will allow them to track changes in the leopard population, identify the boundaries of leopards’ habitat and receive new data on their behavioural patterns and relationships between animals.


The national park has been using camera traps to monitor animal populations in an area of 360,000 hectares since 2013.

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