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The Amur Leopard Reintroduction Center will appear in the Lazovsky Nature Reserve

08 june 2022
The Reintroduction Center will increase the genetic diversity of world's rarest big cat.

On May 24, 2022, the Minister of Natural Resources and Environment of Russia Alexander Kozlov signed an order approving the new Regulation on the Lazovsky State Nature Reserve. The new Regulation contains general information about strictly protected area, its tasks, special protection regime, state control (supervision) over protection and use of strictly protected areas, information about the boundaries, as well as a list of areas where partial economic use is allowed in order to ensure the functioning of the reserve and the livelihoods of local people living on its territory.

These sites mean places for haymaking, picking mushrooms, berries, nuts and deadwood, fishing, placing beehives and apiaries, areas for building tourist infrastructure.

Moreover, the Regulation indicates the areas allocated for the Center for Breeding and Reintroduction of the Amur Leopard.

On June 7, 2022, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of Russia hosted a meeting of experts on the Amur leopard conservation and restoration. During the event, specialists discussed the current state of construction of the breeding complex for the Amur Leopard Reintroduction Center in the Lazovsky Nature Reserve. It will be completed in a year within the boundaries of the protected area.

The Amur Leopard Reintroduction Center in the Lazovsky Nature Reserve is being built to increase the number of the subspecies, as well as to solve the problem of reducing the genetic diversity of leopard population. The only group of the Amur leopard in Russia, consisting of 120 cats and living in the Land of the Leopard National Park, descends from 30 animals, and therefore, over time, the process of imbreeding depression may begin, resulting in a decrease in the viability of individuals.
To prevent this situation, several parental pairs of leopards from zoos will be brought to the Amur Leopard Reintroduction Center in the Lazovsky Nature Reserve. Their litter, released into the wild, will contribute to an increase in the number and genetic diversity of the entire Russian population of the Amur leopard,” explained Vladimir Stroganov, Deputy Director of the Department of State Policy and Regulation in the Sphere of Protected Areas Development of the Ministry of Natural Resources of Russia.

The project to create a reserve population of the Amur leopard in the Lazovsky Reintroduction Center is being implemented by WWF and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation. The preservation of the existing population is carried out by ANO “Far Eastern Leopards” with the support of partners.

Dmitry Gorshkov, director of the WWF Russia, noted: A lot of work has been done to restore the population of the Amur leopard in the south of Primorsky province, on the territory of the Land of the Leopard National Park and adjacent areas, which are currently the home for about 120 individuals. As they say, “Don't put all your eggs in one basket,” and of course, a reserve population is needed to guarantee the preservation of the subspecies. In 2015, the Ministry of Natural Resources approved the Program for the restoration of the Amur leopard, which involves the creation of a reserve population in the south of Sikhote-Alin (Lazovsky Reserve). In order to launch this program, it is necessary to build and organize the work of the Reintroduction Center. WWF plays an important role in the implementation of this project.
For additional information please contact
Director of WWF-Russia