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'The possession of Siberia's natural wealth has become vital in determining Russia’s position in the world'

Threat of extinction ‘over’ as Kremlin confirms rarest big cats in world pass key milestone

By 0 and 0 and 0
11 September 2018


'Very soon there won't be enough space for the leopard population in the national reserve.' Picture: Land of Leopard

They are the comeback cats. 

Two decades ago the Amur leopards (also called Siberian or Far Eastern leopards) were not only on the brink of extinction: they had appeared to pass the point of no return for the species. 

Only 30 lived in the wild. The cats had been denuded by hunting and poaching.

Now, as The Siberian Times reported in April, President Vladimir Putin’s environmental protection tsar, Sergei Ivanov, the former defence minister and deputy premier, has announced they have reached the hundred mark. 

They proof? They’ve even spotted (sorry!) by camera traps.

Each leopards spots are unique, so scientists can be sure the count if accurate. 

And among the sightings are young cubs, a good omen for the future.

Mom and kitten

Far Eastern leopard

Far Eastern leopard

Far Eastern leopard

Far Eastern leopard

Far Eastern leopard

Far Eastern leopard

The images from some 400 automatic cameras have been used to garner the details on the species’ climb back from oblivion. Picture: Land of Leopard

‘Five to seven years of work led to the main result,’ he said on a visit to the Land of the Leopard national park in Primorsky region which has been crucial to their survival.

‘Now there is no threat that the leopard…will become extinct. 

'When there were 30 of them, that was close to the red line, very close.

'There is around 100 of them now - although it's still a small number.’

Some 300 more living in zoos around the world, but for the species future it is crucial that they remain in their natural habitat. 

'There are around 300 Far Eastern leopards living in zoos across the world, and only around 100 living in the wild.

'My dream is for it be the other way around.’

Ivanov noted that there is not enough land for all the leopards the reserve which currently covers 262,000 hectares - so an extension is now on the agenda.

'It often happens so that when you sort out one problem, you face another.

'Very soon there won't be enough space for the leopard population in the national reserve.

'So the allocation of new territories in Primorsky region - where the leopards lived historically - is now on the agenda.’

Land of Leopard

Land of the Leopard National Park is located right on the border between Russia and China. 

Russian and international companies are joining the efforts to protect the rare feline, allowing investment in the development of the national reserve.

Plans will extend the reserve to the south, it is understood. 

In April, we revealed that there were 84 adult Amur leopards in the wild. 

In addition, there seven adolescent big cats and 12 cubs had been seen. 

This took the total to 103. 

The images from some 400 automatic cameras have been used to garner the details on the species’ climb back from oblivion.

Reserve experts hailed it as ‘the most important news of the year’.

The landmark is a success  for united action by animal campaigners and Russian government to save the species from poachers.

Female Far Eastern leopard breastfeeds her adolescent kittens. 

Comments (14)

Unfortunately these exquisitely beautiful and majestic creatures like the snow leopard and so many others are victims of their own exeptional beauty.

This is reallly miraculous and definitely the most important news of the year if not decade! It goes to prove that everything is possible on this earth, and that where there is a will, there is always a way.

A huge big Amur Leopard hug and kiss to President Vladimir Putin, all the animal campaigners and the nature conservationists who made this dream become a reality...

As Mahatma Gandi once stated "The greatness of a Nation and it's moral progress can be judged by the way it's animals are treated.
Anonymous, Switzerland
29/11/2019 01:33
Fantastic photos. And hearting that this fine animal has the protection deserved, as well as the National Park. Good effort.
James, New Zealand
21/05/2019 15:42
Many thanks for WWF, the Russian government and animal defenders for the rise in Amour leopard numbers !
Let us protect the habitat of these magnificent creatures !!! Well done president Putin , we will never forget
that you saved the amour leopards !!!!! My deepest gratitude !!!!!
CALLENS DIRK, Kortrijk Belgium
16/12/2018 21:59

Haakon Stenersen, Norway
30/10/2018 01:07
not being a beancounter or nitpicker but - denuded- is not the right word. it should be decimated...
Benedikt MORAK, Moscow
20/10/2018 11:13
Wonderful news! Thanks alot President and Minister. You are champions for this species!!
Matthew Tabone, Malta
16/10/2018 19:31
Luc, Luxembourg
04/10/2018 15:36
Let nature conservancy be a medium to promote good international relations based on common goals.
Felix Toledo, San Juan, Puerto Rico
25/09/2018 23:34
Thank you for sharing these wonderful photos and wonderful news. I echo everyone's comments and I hope that everyone involved is able to continue to build on these accomplishments. I recently visited Western and Southern Russia and am really looking forward to exploring Eastern Russia.
Pamela K Tetarenko, League City, USA
19/09/2018 20:56
That's great news! Respecting, enhancing natural reserve areas is key tool for preservation. You're doing a good group job with neighbouring countries. Congratulations!
LFAyala, Guadalajara, Mex
14/09/2018 02:16
Spectacular! Well done!! I am thrilled by the news and by the cats!!! Good news in the world-wide effort to save humanity’s wildlife is so very welcome. Good on you, Russia.
Valli Pherson , Illinois, USA
13/09/2018 02:34
My favourite fluffy leopard , good job ! . Thanks to protect them. with China and North Corea
Jocelyne, FRANCE
12/09/2018 11:52
What wonderful news! I am so grateful to you all for saving these beautiful animals. I was also very happy to read about the little Pallas cat which was rescued. Well done! I wish other countries cared as much about their precious animals. Thank you!
Ann, Fife, Scotland.
12/09/2018 03:46
"Be good and do what is right".....God
Paul, Spokane Washington USA
12/09/2018 03:30

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