On November 28, the experts of the South team of Leopardovy Wildlife Refuge and Kedrovaya Pad Nature Reserve went to a deer farm situated in the vicinity of the protected areas to investigate a case of livestock depredation.
Earlier the deer breeder informed the inspectors that a leopard had killed a male deer at night time on the territory of his farm. A dead animal carcass was found in an internal enclosure, approximately 100 meters from a warden's hut. A guard found the dead deer early in the morning when he was going round the territory. The leader of the South team Eugeny Stoma inspected a scene carefully and concluded that there were two night guests, most probably a female leopard with a paw size of 6.5 cm and a male offspring with smaller pads. A back part of the dead deer carcass was partially eaten, several bites were noticed on the neck.
Next morning brought the good news. The leopards showed up again to finish their dinner and got caught on camera traps set up by Eugeny Stoma right by the hunted prey. Such appearance is rather rare and gives the specialists lots of useful information about the few Amur leopards that live in the south of Primorye. Unfortunately, the abundance of predators on photographs was caused by overlay of several frames. To find out more about the night “hunters” Eugeny and his team decided to follow their tracks on the fresh snow. After closer investigation it was discovered that the tracks apparently belonged to adult leopardess and her two cubs. Hopefully, now they are satiated and well protected.
Recently, we have met Sergei Khokhrykov, director of Kedrovaya Pad Nature Reserve and Leopardovy Wildlife Refuge who shared good news with us: “Tracks of four leopard cubs were found in fresh fallen snow inside the protected areas. Presumably, a female resident leopard with two cubs live in Kedrovaya Pad Nature Reserve. Another female leopard with two cubs likely inhabit an adjacent area. Also, there are two females with one cub each. All in all, there are four leopardesses and six cubs roaming the protected areas and abutting territories ”. This news is extremely encouraging for conservationists and people concerned about the fate of Amur leopard and shows the first results of improve protection in Southwest Primorye. We hope that during this winter survey, which is to be held in late December-January, the specialists will count more leopards than in previous years.
Let us again express our sincere appreciation for the donations that make protection of the Leopard Land possible!