Elusive Cats Caught on Camera

Is the Amur leopard making a comeback?


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Recent videos hint that the Amur leopard, a rare speciecs of big cat hovering on the brink of extinction, could be making a comeback. Camera traps in eastern Russia spotted 12 of the leopards in a recent survey period, far more than scientists expected to see. Fewer than 50 Amur leopards exist in the wild, and previous efforts by the World Wildlife Fund and Russian biologists had yielded photos of between seven and nine individual cats. “The results are pointing to a population increase of up to 50 percent within the target group in Kedrovaya Pad and Leopardoviy,” Sergei Aramilev, WWF Russia’s program coordinator, said. “I think we can attribute this to improvements in how our reserves are managed and the long-term efforts that have gone into leopard conservation.” Russian Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov announced last December that the government would soon create a “Land of Leopard” national park, which would merge the current Kedrovaya Pad Nature Reserve and the Leopardoviy Wildlife Refuge.