Specialists name the most fertile leopardess in Land of the Leopard

Specialists name the most fertile leopardess in Land of the Leopard

31 August 2018

Having analysed trail camera photos from 2013 to the present, specialists have identified the most fertile female Far Eastern leopard in Land of the Leopard National Park. This proved to be Leo 23F (Grace): she gave birth to at least nine cubs over the past four years.


The young leopardess was first caught on camera in 2013. The following year she became a mother. Images taken in 2014 show her with two cubs who became known as Leo 64M and Leo 65M.


In 2015, Grace was spotted with her other newborns, one of whom was called Leo 109M. A year later, she reappeared with two female cubs (Leo 112F and Leo 121F). In the photos obtained in 2017, she is accompanied by three other baby leopards, which makes her the mother of at least nine cubs. 


“Leo 23F is not only a fertile female, but also a very caring mother. Five of her six grown-up cubs are regularly captured by trail cameras, which is a very good result. In the wild, death rates among the young are fairly high due to the harsh environment. But Grace managed to raise, protect and send off into adulthood most of her offspring,” said Yevgenia Bisikalova (PhD in biology), deputy director for research at Land of the Leopard.  


The three cubs from Grace's last litter will get their identification numbers in the current year, after cameras spot them, the researcher said.


Photo monitoring enables Land of the Leopard staff to collect data about the leopard population, its gender and age structure, and the continuity of generations. Trail cameras help count the cubs born to each female leopard and keep track of their life from the first days of birth.   


Updated figures show that 86 adult Far Eastern leopards were spotted in the park in 2017, including 40 females of reproductive age and 21 cubs.