WWF expands network of Persian leopard monitoring
The natural park «Bolshoy Tkhach» is located in the Republic of Adygea. Recently WWF field researchers have registered tracks of one of Persian leopard on the territory of the natural park. Therefore the decision to set up camera traps on the possible directions of movement of a leopard has been made.
«Expansion of camera traps network is one of the key elements in the implementation of the project of restoration of the population of the Persian leopard in the Caucasus. The data obtained by this equipment are important not only for a monitoring of big cats, but also for local biodiversity monitoring, including ungulates, wolves, and lynxes», – Valery Shmunk, the director of Regional brunch «Russian Caucasus» of WWF Russia has noted.
It is the first-ever experience of the reintroduction of a leopard – returns of an animal to places which it inhabited before. Until the middle of the 20th century, the leopard was widespread in the Caucasus and occupied all mountain territories. However, by 1950 its number was sharply reduced, in many areas the animal has been completely destroyed because of the human.
Only occasionally individual leopards are registered on the territory of Dagestan, North Ossetia, Chechnya, and Ingushetia nowadays. However, the subspecies can't be restored without conservation efforts. The animals who have grown in zoos can't be released into the wild as they won't be capable of surviving without the participation of the human.
The Project implies creating new and supporting of existing Protected Areas in the Russian Far East, Altai-Sayan and the Caucasus, and improvement in land use planning and programs of social and economic development in the regions of big cats’ habitat. It will also address anti-poaching measures, resolution of conflicts between humans and leopards, and improvement of the quality of life in these regions. Moreover, the Project will contribute to the Russian Federation’s active implementation of international agreements and cross-border conservation programs for the big cat species.