FEMALE LEOPARD'S COLLAR WAS FOUND
Volna was released in North Ossetia on the territory of the Alania National Park in 2018 as a part of the Persian Leopard Reintroduction Program in the Caucasus, developed by experts from WWF and the A. N. Severtsov Insitute of Ecology and Evolution in 2005. Thanks to the satellite collar that is put on each leopard before it is released into the wild, scientists had the opportunity to observe the paths of the predator and record cases of successful hunting. Based on the results of monitoring, we can say that the female has perfectly adapted to life in the wild.
The collar was found on October 7, 2020, in Urvanskiy district of the Kabardino-Balkarian Republic by Amirkhan Mazikhov, inspector of the Department of Hunting of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of the Kabardino-Balkarian Republic, and promptly forwarded to Marat Chechnov, the Head of Department in WWF-Russia.
It is difficult to say exactly when the self-reset system of the device activated, but it is worth noting that, despite its appearance, after two years of operation in extreme conditions, the device is in satisfactory condition and can be reused. In addition, the discovery is of great importance for scientists and the Persian Leopard Reintroduction Program as a whole. In the near future, the experts of the A. N. Severtsov Insitute of Ecology and Evolution will write out the data from the collar, which had been collected for two years.
"In addition to the full track of the animal's paths, the collar will provide information about its activity at every minute of the period. So, it will become clear whether Volna was running, sitting still, walking calmly, etc. Thanks to this, scientists will have access to unique data about the animal's behaviour at different terrain and altitude. Analysis of all the data will give a more complete picture of the animal's life after release," – explains Valeriy Shmunk, Director of Russian Caucasus Ecoregional Office WWF-Russia.
"Going-off of the self-release system on the collar performs two important functions. First, it saves the animal from wearing a non-working device. It also allows us to directly get data that is too "heavy" to transmit via satellite, such as measurements of acceleration sensors along three axes. They show the detailed activity of the animal and allow you to decipher the rhythm of life of the leopard, and this allows you to assess changes in the energy consumption of the leopard in different seasons – snowless and winter. It is very interesting. Volna’s collar was programmed to self-release on 30.06.2020. If there is no serious damage, then decoding the data will not be a long procedure for us, and we are looking forward to its results," – commented Jose Antonio Hernandez-Blanco, Higher Senior Officer at the A. N. Severtsov Insitute of Ecology and Evolution.
The Persian leopard reintroduction program in the Caucasus 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). VTB Bank provides financial support for monitoring the Persian leopard in the Caucasus.