LEOPARD RELEASED INTO THE WILD OF THE CAUCASUS, KILLED BY POACHERS
The tragedy occurred in Gulripshsky district of the Republic of Abkhazia, 6 km from the village of Azhara in the Mrampa area. According to people who found a dead animal, the leopard was trapped on January 27. By the time they found him, wedged the paw almost died, trying to free himself, the predator was practically chewed off his paw, however, remained alive. The locals thought that the leopard was dead, but when they tried to free him from the trap, the wounded animal tried to defend himself. Instead of reporting the wounded animal to the State Committee for ecology and nature protection, hunters simply shot the immobilized leopard. Also, according to preliminary information, he was skinned and the remains left in place.
Comparing the patterns of spots of the dead leopard with the existing passports of animals released in the Russian Caucasus, the experts of the Institute of Ecology and Evolution (IEE) confirmed that it’s the Killy. He was released into the wild on the territory of the Caucasian reserve on July 15, 2016, under the state Program of reintroduction (restoration) of the leopard in the Caucasus.
The Caucasian reserve reported the death of the leopard to the Minister of natural resources and ecology of the Russian Federation Dmitry Kobylkin.
The Persian leopard is protected in all countries where it lives. Hunting for the Red Book animal is a criminal offence. In Abkhazia hunting of the Persian leopard is a crime according to article 256 of the Criminal code of the Republic – illegal hunting.
To date, only four Persian leopards have remained in the wild of the Russian Caucasus, prepared in the Persian Leopard Breeding and Rehabilitation Centre at Sochi National Park.
The Program is implemented by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation with the participation of the Sochi National Park, Caucasus (Kavkazsky) State Nature Biosphere Reserve, A.N. Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution, Moscow Zoo and WWF-Russia, and supported by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA).