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Премия рунета 2017

WWF awarded villagers in Abkhazia who had discovered leopard Victoria

08 december 2017
In the administration of the Gudauta district of the Republic of Abkhazia the residents of the village of Lykhny, who had participated in the capture of leopard Viktoria in November, were awarded with honorary diplomas and gifts.

 According to the residents, the leopard was seen three times in the evening on the outskirts of the village. An unprecedented event caused controversy among the population, including suggestions to get rid of the predator. However, one of the residents – Vadim Khintba – managed to convince fellow villagers not to kill the rare animal, but to catch him in a self-made cage, which was done.

The responsible action of the villagers was noted by the representatives of the Ministry of Natural Resources, ANO "Nature Centre of the Caucasus", the Caucasus Nature Reserve and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

The World Wildlife Fund awarded Vadim for this act with a nominal watch and an honorary diploma for his contribution to the implementation of the Program for the Restoration of the Persian leopard in the Caucasus. Memorable diplomas and gifts from WWF were received by other residents who had participated in the capture, as well as deputy director for science of the Ritsin relic national park Inga Tania, thanks to whom the event became known to Russian specialists.

"I do not consider myself a hero. I am sure that in my place every resident of Abkhazia would have acted like this. Although we, locals, are mainly hunters, this does not prevent us from understanding that it is very important to preserve not only the leopard, but also all the inhabitants of our forests", – says Vadim Khintba.

The fact that the female Victoria, released on July 15, 2016 in the Caucasus Nature Reserve, turned out to be so far from the place of release, once again indicates the necessity to coordinate the actions of all stakeholders in order to implement the program for the restoration of this rare predator. In fact, all movements of the animal passed within a single transboundary migration corridor, which emphasizes the priority of measures to preserve it.

Vadim Khintba
Victoria in a homemade cage © Sergey Trepet
For additional information please contact
Head of Caucasus Ecoregional Office