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TWO MORE PERSIAN LEOPARDS RELEASED INTO THE WILD IN THE CAUCASUS
25 august 2020
On the 25th of August two Persian leopards – male and female – have found there new wild home in the Turmonskiy Sanctuary in the region of Ossetia
A month earlier, 2-year-old Baksn and Agura successfully passed exams at the Leopard Reintroduction Center of the Sochi National Park. This showed they are ready for free-living in the wild. This is the second release in a week – on the 20th of August, another couple of Kodor and Laba was released in the Caucasian State Natural Biosphere Reserve. The animals were transported to the release spot in special wooden boxes.
Before being released into the wild, animals undergo full training and pass real exams. From birth, these animals learn to hunt independently and survive in the wild. For this purpose, in 2009, a special Leopard Reintroduction Center was built in the Caucasus, which is located in Sochi National Park. At the age of two, leopards pass exams, during which experts from the A. N. Severtsov Insitute of Ecology and Evolution and the Moscow zoo assess their ability to hunt, avoid humans and livestock, their physical condition, and social competence when interacting with their relatives. After successful testing, leopards are put on satellite collars for further monitoring, which allows them to track the migration of animals and get information about their adaptation processes.
“We not only return two fabulous graceful cats, but we are bringing back the symbol of the Caucasus. Leopards are the ones to bring together a lot of people from across the country and unite them with one aim. This release and the reintroduction program itself shows the world that humanity has realized the mistakes of the past and is ready to fix them", - said Dmitriy Gorshkov, Director of WWF-Russia.
This is the second release on the territory of the Turmonskiy Sanctuary. The first animals were released in 2018. Baksan and Agura will join the female Volna that has been living there ever since.
The Persian leopard reintroduction program is implemented by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation with the participation of the Sochi National Park, Caucasus reserve, WWF-Russia, the A. N. Severtsov Insitute of Ecology and Evolution, the Institute of Ecology of Mountain Territories and Moscow zoo, as well as with the assistance of the International Union for Сonservation of Nature (IUCN) and the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA).