The protected habitat of the Far-Eastern (Amur) leopards would be enlarged.
On May 16 at the meeting held in Vladivostok, Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov talked about creation of Leopard Land national park and threats to the survival of the Far-Eastern leopard.
According to the Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister, who supervises the Far-Eastern leopard conservation program, the population of this extremely rare species in Russia has almost halved over the last 20 years, with no more than 45 individuals remaining in the wild.
Today, the main role in the Far-Eastern leopard conservation belongs to the Kedrovaya Pad Nature Reserve and Leopardovy Wildlife Refuge, but their state leaves much to be desired. Main question that was discussed during the meeting concerned the borders of the pending national park. The territory of the Leopardovy Wildlife Refuge critically needs to be enlarged, considering the actual habitat of the predator. The national park will include lands behind the engineering facilities, "Nezhinsky" and "Borisovsky" hunting estates, and other lands. No stalking and hunting with dogs will be allowed in the new protected area. The emphasis of the development should be made on tourism. Also Sergei Ivanov said that a 600-meters long tunnel will be constructed near the Narvinsky pass on the Razdolnoe-Khasan route, so that the federal highway doesn’t disturb the leopards. The tunnel is designed for preservation of animals’ traditional migratory paths and its construction will be funded from federal budget and out of the funds provided by “Gasprom”.
“We agreed on park borders. Scientists have been repeatedly registering tracks of leopards to the north of Kedrovaya Pad Nature Reserve, therefore it was decided to include a number of these forestlands in a protected zone. Borders of the future Leopard Land national park were defined relying on this data, and they have increased to 380 hectares, which is twice as large as the present protected area. In two weeks all legal documents will be signed. I want to notice that we are not “ecological extremists”, and park borders would not affect territories important for households and gas pipeline. We should do the utmost to conserve the most northern leopard living in Russia", - Ivanov declared in conclusion.
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