WWF MADE AWARE DAGESTAN HIGHLANDERS ABOUT LEOPARD
Dagestan is one of the potential areas for release of Persian leopard into the wild, where he lived before. Nowadays, only occasional sightings of the species have reported in Dagestan. Perhaps, all of them related to leopards who roaming from the Azerbaijan to Dagestan via the Great Caucasus Ridge. Therefore, WWF-Russia conducts an educational work among locals together with the Dagestan Reserve and with VTB Bank financial support. The meetings took place in 18 local villages during 3 months.
More than 260 local persons of Mountainous Dagestan became participants of the events. The organizers told them about role of the Persian leopard in the Dagestan ecosystem, about safety rules at a meeting with a leopard, as well as about the Program of its reintroduction. Also, locals received brochures with necessary information about the Persian leopard.
«We meet with locals regularly in places where predator lives or can potentially appear. It’s very important that shepherds, border guards and local people have a knowledge about the Persian leopard, its importance for vital ecosystem and live in peace with him. Preventing a conflict between human and leopard is easier than solve with its consequences», - explains Valery Shmunk, Director of «Russian Caucasus» Ecoregional Office, WWF-Russia.
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).