«Old friends» on new pictures: the first «catch» of camera traps in the Land of the Leopard
Only one day after fixing two WWF’s cameras a photograph of an adult leopard was shot. It was a picture of the male acquainted to the researches.
According to Vladimir Aramilev, a scientist from the Pacific Institute of Geography of the Russian Academy of Science, head of the Institute of Sustainable Nature Use, a local NGO, the animal was first captured on film in 2012 in Kedrovaya Pad nature Reserve.
«This is a rather large male at the age of 4-6 according to its size and weight. In 2013 the animal was also shot by camera traps but this year we receive its picture for the first time», adds Aramilev, one of those involved in camera traps leopard monitoring program.
Aramilev notes that sometimes leopards do not pass camera traps for weeks but this time «the catch» was immediate as the traps were set along a popular with leopards trail.
The same day, early on March 21, one more leopard was caught by a camera trap on the southern monitoring plot. It was also an «old friend» of the local researches. Rather young animal approached a cliff to exchange the information.
«Leopards leave on the cliff their scent marks to indicate the fact of their presence here», explains Aramilev.
Specialists believe to receive more pictures of leopards shot in these significant for them places. Continuous monitoring with the help of camera traps will go on for two months on the southern and northern plots as well as in the Park’s buffer zone. Analysis of the received information will help to get accurate data on leopard and tiger status on the model plots.
Let us remind that thanks to the joint efforts of Land of the Leopard National Park, the Pacific Institute of Geography of the Russian Academy of Science, WWF Russia, the Institute of Sustainable Nature Use, a local conservation NGO, and WCS camera traps that have been set this year cover about 90% of the Amur leopard home range.
The photo monitoring has proved to be one of the reliable methods of the Amur leopard counting. Besides, using camera traps became important in the recent years when due to high snow it was impossible to conduct a traditional winter census.