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The Land of the Leopard National Park celebrates its 10th anniversary

05 april 2022
WWF-Russia greets the Land of the Leopard National Park on its 10th anniversary and congratulates it on the conservation results: for the first time in the 21st century, the number of wild Amur leopards has exceeded 120 individuals. According to the new data, the Amur leopard population has more than tripled since the beginning of the century.

A systematic work on the Amur leopard conservation began in the late 90s, when the world’s last 30 wild leopards survived only in the south-western Primorye. The situation changed dramatically on April 5, 2012 with the establishment of a large unified protected area - the Land of the Leopard National Park. Its territory more than ten times exceeded the area of ​​the Kedrovaya Pad Nature Reserve and covered the main core of the Amur leopard population. That is exactly what conservationists have been striving for more than 10 years, allocating funds to equip anti-poaching brigades, fighting forest fires, raising awareness among local people, preparing documents for socio-economic background. Shortly after that, a joint directorate of Land of the Leopard National Park and Kedrovaya Pad Nature Reserve was formed that took control of most part of the Amur leopard home range. 

“Ten years ago, the main goal of the NP creation was to save the Amur leopard. At the beginning of the 21st century, these animals were on the brink of extinction. Very few people believed that the unique wild cat had a chance to survive. However, the efficient operation of the national park proved the opposite. The indicators performed by the Land of the Leopard NP present a rare case of success in wildlife conservation – for the first time in the 21st century, the number of Amur leopards in the wild exceeded 120 individuals. It is important that nature remains in harmony and natural balance is maintained. Large predators are indicators of the ecosystem welfare: if the number of wild cats is stable and they feel comfortable, then all the environment is healthy,” notes Viktor Bardyuk, head of the Land of the Leopard National Park.
To mark the anniversary, the book “Photo Monitoring of the Amur Leopard in the Southwestern Primorye” has been published. This publication is the first summary of the Amur leopard photo monitoring data collected by the team of the Park’s science department and specialists from WCS and WWF-Russia Amur branch.
Amur leopard
Camera trap of the Land of the Leopard NP
According to Yury Darman, Ph.D., the editor-in-chief of the publication, an honored ecologist of the Russian Federation, “The Amur leopard camera trap monitoring was launched 20 years ago by the joint efforts of WWF and WCS, and well-known scientists: Vladimir Aramilev, Alexey Kostyria, Dale Miquelle. However, only with the creation of the Park it became possible to organize a full-scale network of over 400 cameras that covers almost the entire range of the rare cat in the southwestern Primorye. This task was achieved, first of all, thanks to the efforts of Elena Shevtsova (Salmanova) and Dina Matyukhina, as well as the field work of research engineers — Viktor Storozhuk and Alexey Titov. I am proud to be assigned to help with the processing of the huge amount of data — about 80 thousand photos and videos of Amur leopards. But the main contribution in this analysis belongs to Anna Vitkalova, the main author of the monograph”.
The publication was prepared with the support of WWF-Russia Amur branch, the “Far Eastern Leopards”, a Russian autonomous non-commercial organization, and WCS. The book presents the main materials on changes in the number and population characteristics of the Amur leopard in the southwestern Primorye over of 2014–2020. The e-version of the publication (in Russian) is available on wwf.ru website. The English version is also planned to be ready.
“WWF has been closely cooperating with the Land of the Leopard National Park since the moment of its establishment supporting its scientific research. Thus, WWF helped the Park’s administration purchasing the equipment for setting camera traps – a Yamaha Viking snowmobile, an ATV, and spare parts. We also funded a repair of a vehicle for the field work. Moreover, together with the scientific department’ staff we carry out leopard camera trap monitoring on areas outside the national park,” notes Aleksey Kostyria, Ph.D., acting head of rare species conservation department of WWF-Russia Amur Branch.
The new publication "Photo monitoring of Amur leopard"
WWF Russia

The new Strategy for the Amur Leopard Conservation in Russia, approved by the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment in February 2022, identified key measures to increase its population up to 150 individuals and maintain it within the historical range by 2030.

In 2022, it is planned to create a buffer zone of the Land of the Leopard National Park, and by 2024, to ensure the preservation of the Amur leopard habitat within the boundaries of the Kravtsovskie Waterfalls cluster and in the Provalovsky deer park. Moreover, by 2024, it is planned to create ecological corridors connecting leopard habitats in the Baranovsky, Poltavka and Pogranichny areas, the Land of Big Cats Transboundary Reserve formed on the base of the Land of the Leopard NP, the Kedrovaya Pad NR, and the North-Eastern NP for Tigers and Leopards in China, which borders the Russian protected areas.

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