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Премия рунета 2017

Leopard Victoria has been found in Abkhazia

17 november 2017
Earlier released into the wild, the female leopard Victoria has been returned to the Persian Leopard Recovery Center in Sochi. Victoria is one of three individuals released in the Caucasus Nature Reserve in July 2016. There hadn`t been information about her whereabouts since mid-June 2017, when in November she was found in the Republic of Abkhazia.

In early November residents of the village of Lykhny, which is 5 km from Gudauta (the Republic of Abkhazia), found traces of a leopard coming to the village at nights. The Abkhazian authorities immediately notified the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment of Russia about the leopard`s approximate location.

Minister Sergei Donskoy sent the specialists from the Ministry of Natural Resources, the Caucasian Nature Reserve, the Moscow Zoo and the Leopard Recovery Center of the Sochi National Park to immobilize and identify the animal, so that it might be returned to the Recovery Center.

On November 16, the specialists conducted a veterinary examination that showed the leopard`s excellent state of health. The animal was identified as the female leopard Victoria released in the Caucasian Nature Reserve in July 2016. The straight-line distance between the last point where the leopard had been registered and Lychny made up about 100 km, which confirmed that leopards are prone to move over vast areas, in this case, over both the northern and southern slopes of the Greater Caucasus Mountain Range. This is the only known case when a leopard attacks livestock after being released into the wild.

Following the identification, the Abkhazian authorities returned the animal to the Leopard Recovery Center in the Sochi National Park. After a short rehabilitation and examining, Victoria again will be fitted with a satellite collar and released in the Caucasian Nature Reserve.

"The appearance of the leopard in Abkhazia has proved our suppositions that their habitat should include both the northern and southern slopes of the Greater Caucasus Mountain Range to be correct, — says Igor Chestin, the director of WWF Russia. — That is why it is so important to preserve Russian and Abkhazian protected territories, some of which were created in the course of preparations for the 2014 Winter Olympics. It confirms yet one more time that the ski resorts expanding in the upper reaches of the Mzymta River and in the territory of the Caucasian Nature Reserve is inadmissible."

The Persian leopard recovery program is being implemented by the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment of Russia and subordinate institutions, the Institute of Ecology and Evolution of the RAS, the Moscow Zoo, WWF Russia, and the ANO "The Center of Caucasus Nature ". The program participants express their gratitude to Lychny residents and the authorities of the Republic of Abkhazia for their invaluable assistance in the program implementing.

Leopard Recovery Center, Caucasus
Leopard Recovery Center, Caucasus
Anton Agarkov / WWF Russia
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