LEOPARD ARTEK MOVING NORTH IN SEARCH OF A MORE COMFORTABLE PLACE
The leopard, released in the Eastern part of the Reserve on August 31, 2018 on mount Akhtsarkhva, went beyond its borders and has been living in woody foothills of the Adygea for almost six months. The animal has a satellite collar that allows us to track its movement and hunting. Monitoring data show that the predator has settled in the territory and successfully hunts. His first prey, a young deer - was caught by Artek in September. Later the leopard hunted down a wild boar and a raccoon dog.
«We can confirm that Artek chose the foothills of Adygea and Krasnodar region as the most suitable habitat in the winter. This area lies in the northern macro slope of The Greater Caucasus and has considerably less snow compared to the southern one. Mountain ungulates have similar migration patterns to adapt to changing seasonal habitats according to snow depths and other conditions», - explains Valery Shmunk, Director of the Russian Caucasus office WWF-Russia.
Recent data from the satellite collar showed that the leopard had been in the same area for 35 hours. Usually, this fact indicates a successful hunt for large prey, after which the predator can stay near the prey for a long time.
«However, when checking the cluster, no sign of hunting or presence of a leopard was found. Apparently, Artek used this time to have a rest and explore the area», - Sergey Trepet, senior researcher of the Caucasus reserve, expert of WWF-Russia, who makes monitoring within the framework of the leopard reintroduction program in the Caucasus, describes.
Later it became known about the presence of Artek in the neighboring cluster, between the rivers Belaya and Laba. The leopard stayed here for 60 hours. In the beech-oak forest the remains of a two-year-old female wild boar were found during inspection of the cluster. The prey was almost completely eaten. Only the head, skin and lower parts of the legs with hooves remained.
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).
Headline photo: (c) Sergey Trepet / WWF-Russia