The star of “Spotted family” documentary became a mom
Scientists have been watching over leopardess named Berry (Leo 4F) since her birth. Today she is about four years old and she fully deserves the title of the Princess of Land of the Leopard: Berry is the daughter of Kedrovka who was the mistress of the nature reserve for a long time. Kedrovka and Berry became widely known in 2014 after the release of the internet series “Spotted family” and “Spotted family - 2” – the joint project of Land of the Leopard National Park and WWF Russia. A year later, in summer 2015, camera traps recorded the video of Berry’s dance making her even more popular.
«”Spotted family” project became a real breakthrough in video monitoring of Amur leopard – the rarest cat on the planet. For the first time the audience has seen something that no one has seen before – the real life of a real family of leopards in their natural habitat without any visual effects. I’m happy to know that a little cub with the injured paw from the series is now having her own happy family. 15 years ago WWF launched the program “Only 30 left”. That time only one leopardess with cubs was recorded, today there are about 20 litters in the wild!”, - comments Yury Darman, Ph.D., honourable ecologist of Russia, senior adviser WWF-Russia Amur Branch.
Specialists of Land of the Leopard received these unique and highly valuable images in early April from camera traps set in Kedrovaya Pad Nature Reserve. The cubs were captured in a small cave, and Berry herself at the entrance to the cave. Video shows a healthy spotted family in which, as expected, the curious kids wishing to explore the world and giving a lot of trouble for mother. At present Berry is hunting to get food for her litter and teaches the kittens the basics of hunting.
It is noteworthy that initially the interest of specialists setting the traps near the cave was caused by a completely different animal. Shortly before the appearance of Berry and her kittens, a small cave was visited by the Amur tiger. Its tracks attracted the attention of the staff of the scientific department of the Land of the Leopard. This fact suggests that the life of a young mother can hardly be called secure. Although Berry looks calm, gracefully posing for the photo-trap, in fact she has to lead an extremely secret way of life. To preserve the cubs, the leopardess should be cautious and draw as little attention as possible, because in the wild, newborn predators have many enemies.
According to experts of Land of the Leopard, the kittens are about four months old. They survived to this age, which means they have all the chances to grow up and become full members of the population of the rarest spotted predator.
Kedrovaya Pad Nature Reserve is a strictly protected area in the southwestern Primorye that is included into the Land of the Leopard National Park. The area of the nature reserve is quite small – 8 thousand hectares (area of the national park is 262 thousand hectares). About 5 Amur leopards are regularly recorded on the territory of Kedrovaya Pad Nature Reserve, as well as passages of Amur tigers through this area. Altogether there are about 70 Amur leopards and 30 Amur tigers on the Land of the Leopard.