Safari Park helps Amur leopards come back to Sikhote-Alin
First 50 000 rubles (which is about 640 USD) have been already transferred.
Such was an announcement made by Dmitry Mezentsev the Park’s head, at a meeting dedicated to its 9th anniversary.
«The equal sums will be allocated to WWF every month for the program implementation, adds Dmitry. - Thus, all visitors of the Safari Park will have a chance to participate in this important and ambitious program by simple buying the entry tickets».
Let us remind you that the Reintroduction Program for the Amur Leopard in the southern Sikhote-Alin developed with WWF participation was approved by the head of the Ministry of natural Resources and Environment of Russia. The Program is designed for 12 year minimum, while the first releases of the animals from the Lazovsky Nature Reserve-based Rehabilitation Center will took place on the third or fourth year of its implementation.
The leopards are planned to further settle in the coastal districts of the southern Sikhote-Alin Mountain Range where the second, so called reserved, population of the Amur leopards consisting of 50-60 animals will be formed.
It is critically important to mention that no wild Amur leopard will be taken from nature to form a new population. Pure-blood animals brought from the world Zoos will become new settlers in the new home. The litters of these leopards will be trained in accordance with a specially developed program. Only those young leopards that successfully pass the “survival” exam demonstrating their ability to prey and avoid contacts with humans and tigers will be set free.
This is a formidable and risky task but it is financially backed up by WWF supporters in many countries while the members of the European Association of Zoos agreed to bring captive breeding pairs of leopards and cubs free of charge.
Primorsky Safari Park has joined the Program and is ready both to share the knowledge and skills on the enclosures’ construction and invest money into the Rehab Center to be constructed in Lazovsky State Nature Reserve.
«I remember Dmitry Mezentsev to be a young forest rambler travelling with a photo camera in search of tigers and leopards, notes Vasily Solkin, head of communication at WWF Russia Amur branch. - It was Dmitry who published an article in the Zov Taigi magazine in early nineties saying that the Amur leopard disappeared from Lazovsky District quite recently and that several encounters with this animal took place right in the end of seventies. So, Dmitry’s decision to assist in bringing the leopards back is not without reason».