Thursday, April 19, 2012

Russia Makes Room for Leopards

credit: ALTA Amur Leopard Conservation
More:  the new Land of the Leopard Park established by the Russian Federation covers all of the Amur leopards' breeding areas and about 60% of the critically endangered cat's remaining habitat.  The park includes ten resident tigers, as well as zones for  economic development and recreational opportunities.  WWF has been advocating for a reserve to protect Amur leopards and tigers since 2001.  Go to this link to see a slideshow of leopards where they belong--in the wild.

{18.04.12}Russia has created a new park for Amur leopards and tigers in the nation's far east. Over a thousand square miles of land are now protected as habitat. The "Land of the Leopard Park" was created on April 8th when three existing reserves were merged with previously unprotected land along the Chinese border and in the northeast portion of the critically endangered Amur leopard's range. [map] Only an estimated thirty of the leopards (Panthera pardus orientalis) cling to life in forests wedged between the Sea of Japan and Jinlin Province in China. The population remains stable despite human encroachment and habitat loss. Amur tigers range over a larger area, including a small population that regularly crosses the border into China's Hunchun Reserve. There are indications that northeast China's population of big cats has started to recover, and there are plans to reintroduce leopards in or near Lazovsky Nature Reserve in south Sikhote Alin. Wildlife Conservation Society is supporting the Russian government's efforts to preserve the remaining cats in the wild with studies and programs intended to protect both leopards and tigers. Conservationists praised the decision, saying the new park will provide a critical refuge for some of the most endangered big cats on the planet.