Camera trap records tiger and leopard at cave entrance

Camera trap records tiger and leopard at cave entrance

1 December 2017

A camera trap opposite a cave in Land of the Leopard has recorded a female leopard and a male Amur tiger. In the first video, the tiger is seen trying to enter the cave, and in the second video the leopardess comes out of the grotto five days later, which excludes the possibility of a conflict between the two wild cats. The female leopard has been identified as unnamed Leo 83F.


“A tiger has no need to hunt a leopard, this tiger was most likely looking for a hibernating bear in the cave,” said Viktor Storozhuk, engineer and researcher at Land of the Leopard. “Some stripy predators prefer them [bears] to hoofed mammals, it is quite normal behaviour for them.”


He also said that Land the Leopard experts had checked the cave to make sure it had only one entrance. Quite possibly, a technical fault had prevented the camera from recording the leopard actually entering the cave.


It is highly unlikely that Leo 83F was hiding her cubs in the cave, as female Far Eastern leopards normally take their cubs to a safer place after their den has been spotted by other predators or human beings.


“Had there been cubs in the cave, both the tiger and the leopardess would have behaved differently, and the camera would have recorded it,” said Dina Matyukhina, senior researcher at Land of the Leopard. “Judging by how calm the spotted cat was and how briefly she stayed at the site, we can conclude that the leopardess was simply resting.”


Caves and cliff niches on the southern slopes of Land of the Leopard are the favourite places for tigers and leopards during the winter months to relax and take a break. Conflicts between these wild cats are rare, according to the monitoring results. Leopards have lived in the park together with tigers long enough to have learnt to keep away from the stripy predators.

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