Rare Amur leopards, from zoos to the wild


This is a Amur leopard video.

From Wildlife Extra:

Captive Amur Leopards to be released into the Russian Far East

A plan to reintroduce captive Amur Leopards into the Russian Far East has been formally approved by Russia’s Ministry of Natural Resources, the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) has announced

The site for the reintroduction has been agreed as Lazovsky Zapovednik (State Nature Reserve) in the South-Eastern-most tip of Russia.

The Critically Endangered Amur leopard (Panthera pardus orientalis) is probably the only large cat for which a reintroduction programme using zoo stock is considered a necessary conservation action.

There are currently estimated to be between 50-70 left in the wild, in a small pocket of Russia between Vladivostok and the Sino-Russian border. Around 220 Amur leopards are currently in zoos throughout Europe, Russia, North America and Japan, as part of a global conservation breeding programme jointly coordinated by ZSL and Moscow Zoo.

Established pairs of breeding leopards from the breeding programme will be transported to Russia where they will live in specially constructed enclosures. Here they will be allowed to breed and rear cubs, which will learn to live in that environment from the very start of their lives. Once they are suitably mature, the cubs will be released.

There is no fixed timeframe in place as yet but it has been suggested that construction of the facilities may start in spring 2016, and leopards could be released in 2017.

ZSL will soon start analysis of which leopards will be initially used.

More information about the reintroduction programme, including the approved plan, can be found on the Amur Leopard and Tiger Alliance website.

Singer Shania Twain against extinction of leopards


This music video is called Shania TwainThat Don’t Impress Me Much.

From Wildlife Extra:

Singer Shania Twain becomes a Leopard Ambassador

Singer Shania Twain has helped wild cat conservation organisation Panthera launch #IFAKEIT – a social media campaign to raise awareness of the need to save one of fashion’s most revered but underrepresented icons – the leopard.

“I was shocked to learn that these gorgeous animals are being killed for their beautiful skins and other parts for the illegal trade, and yet are so loved by the fashion world,” says Shania, who has been given the title of Leopard Ambassador.

Referred to as the ‘new neutral’, the big cat’s spotted print has inspired fashion for centuries, influencing style all over the world.

The purpose of this campaign is to inform the general public that while the spots they are wearing are so widespread, the real leopard is under serious threat.

Every year, more leopards are killed in the wild than any other big cat. The species has vanished from nearly 40 per cent of its range in Africa and over 50 per cent in Asia. Many are killed simply for their beauty, as although they are in jeopardy from loss of habitat and conflict with people, the demand for their skins is one of the main causes of their decline.

Even though the international trade in leopard skin is now illegal, it is still common for local communities in Africa and Asia to use real leopard skins for religious and cultural ceremonies, whether worn as capes or used for other traditional regalia.

Panthera’s Furs for Life Leopard Project is providing a simple and sustainable solution that protects leopards but also supports local culture, collaborating with digital designers to create a high-quality and realistic faux leopard skin to replace the authentic skins worn at ceremonies.

More than 5,000 faux leopard capes have already been donated in southern Africa, and Panthera’s new partnership with the Peace Parks Foundation and Cartier will enable the distribution of at least another 13,000 more capes before the end of 2017.

“We wanted to capitalise on the fact that people everywhere are wearing more leopard print than ever, but so few know what’s actually happening to them in the wild,” says Shania.

“With Panthera, we aim to begin this conversation and generate awareness for leopards on a grand scale, while giving people something tangible to grasp, and engage in a fun and impactful way.”

To do this, the singer and the charity have launched the #IFAKEIT campaign, which asks people around the globe to join the movement and show how they ‘fake it’ for leopards.

They are encouraged to post photos of themselves wearing fake leopard print to Twitter, Instagram and Facebook with the #IFAKEIT tag. People can also donate to the campaign at ifakeit.org, where just $30 can support the creation of one fake leopard skin and save a leopard’s life.

The campaign first aims to generate 18,000 unique mentions tagged with #IFAKEIT on social media, to accompany each donated cape, as a thank you to the communities willing to fake it and to stop leopards from being killed for their skins.

The campaign also aims to raise $300,000 for the creation of at least 5,000 new fake leopard skins to distribute to communities outside of southern Africa, and to support other conservation activities to protect leopards across their range.

Lizwi Ncwane, an elder and legal adviser of the Nazareth Baptist ‘Shembe’ Church, says, “As a leader of the Shembe community, I have seen first hand how receptive my community is to using these fake skins.

“Not only do they look and feel like real leopard skins, they also last longer. We’re grateful that Panthera has worked with us in finding a solution that interweaves the conservation of leopards with the customs of the Shembe.”

Iran-Iraq war saving Persian leopards


This video says about itself:

The Journey into wild Iran (English)

6 September 2013

Wildlife photographer returns to his native home Iran to document its little-known wilderness and extraordinary collection of plants and animals — from wild donkeys to cheetahs, leopards, striped hyenas, golden eagles and giant lizards

From the New Zealand Herald:

Endangered leopards thriving in minefields

5:00 AM Monday Dec 29, 2014

For humans it probably ranks as one of the world’s most dangerous nature reserves, but the mine-strewn border between Iran and Iraq has become an unlikely sanctuary for one of the world’s most endangered species of leopard.

The legacy of the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s has left up to 30 million landmines in the region, allowing the endangered Persian leopard to roam free from the threat of poachers. The munitions continue to kill and maim residents along the 1450km border, but in the mountainous Kurdistan region there are reports the Persian leopard, which rarely puts all its weight down on one paw, is too light to detonate the Soviet-era pressure-triggered landmines.

Conservation efforts in the region have floundered since the 1980s. But the unofficial leopard sanctuaries along the border now mean that conservation charities in the area are in the unusual position of planning to oppose new plans to remove landmines. “Environmentally speaking, mines are great because they keep people out,” Azzam Alwash, the head of Nature Iraq, told National Geographic.

Conservationists report that the danger of landmines is a far greater deterrent than law enforcement. Although the 80kg leopards are too light to set off anti-tank mines or less advanced anti-personnel mines, two of the animals died after setting off more advanced tripwire mines.

The animal is listed on the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, with research showing that more than 70 were poisoned or illegally killed for their pelts from 2007 to 2011.

The Iran-Iraq border minefields are not the only conflict zone offering protection to wildlife. The demilitarised zone between North Korea and South Korea is also a haven for wildlife, while the Falkland Islands‘ penguin population has thrived in several large minefields laid during the brief 1982 Argentinian occupation.

Persian leopard

• Scientists now believe that fewer than 1000 wild Persian leopards remain.

• The natural habitat of the Persian leopard ranges from eastern Turkey to western Pakistan and includes vast tracts of the Caucasus and Russia.

• Most of the surviving leopards are to be found in Iran on the border with Iraq.

Indian leopards and humans, new research


This video fom India is called Human & Leopard ~ A Conflict – part01.

From Wildlife Extra:

Leopards live closer to people than previously thought

In a bid to understand how leopards relate to humans and adapt to their presence five leopards (two males and three females) that have been residing in human-dominated areas in India and perceived as ‘problem animals’, have been radio-collared. Two were released more than 50 km (31 miles) away from the site of capture, while the remaining three were released near the site of capture.

The scientists monitored the animals’ activities, for up to a year post-release, recording their behaviour and the strategies they adopt to avoid direct contact with people.

They found immediately after release, the two translocated animals moved 89 km (55 miles) and 45 km respectively (28 miles) away from the release sites and applied tactics to avoid encountering people, despite dependence on their resources, the scientists found.

This included mostly moving at night, when they also would often venture within 25 metres of people’s homes.

“This gave them an access to people’s livestock, and yet kept them safe from people,” said co-author Vidya Athreya of WCS India.

The two translocated animals occupied bigger home ranges (42 km [26 miles]and 65 km [40 miles] respectively), including one in the outskirts of Mumbai. The other three lived in areas with highest human densities, but occupied smallest home ranges (8-15 sq km) (3-5.7 square miles) ever recorded for leopards anywhere.

“The home ranges of the three animals are comparable to those in highly-productive protected areas with a very good prey density,” said Athreya. “This indicated that food sources associated with humans [domestic animals] supported these leopards.”

The scientists believe from the evidence that leopards in human areas are not always stray or victims of conflict like previously thought bat rather resident animals, potentially requiring policy makers to rethink India’s leopard-management strategies. Moreover, two of the females even gave birth to cubs during the course of the study, confirming their residence.

Despite living in close proximity to humans and even being dependent on their resources, none of the leopards were involved in human deaths during capture or following release.

Save leopards in Azerbaijan


This video says about itself:

Panthera‘s mission is to ensure the future of wild cats through scientific leadership and global conservation action. We have brought together the world’s leading wild cat experts to direct and implement effective conservation strategies for the world’s largest and most endangered cats: tigers, lions, jaguars and snow leopards. Our approach to wild cat conservation is rooted in science and based upon decades of first hand field experience. We seek a future in which the world’s 37 wild cat species have the necessary and ongoing protection from human and environmental threats to persist and thrive in the wild. Our vision sees endangered wild cat populations rebounded, critical habitats and core populations connected by genetic and biological corridors, and a global commitment to protect these iconic species through near and distant futures.

Learn more about specific Panthera programs designed to protect the world’s endangered wild cats @ http://bit.ly/q3oFsu.

From Wildlife Extra:

Action on Azerbaijan’s few remaining Caucasian leopards

The future of the Caucasian (or Persian) leopard took a step forward last week with the establishment of a conservation agreement between Panthera, the world’s leading wild cat conservation organisation, and the International Dialogue for Environmental Action (IDEA) of Azerbaijan.

Panthera joined international wild cat scientists, environmental NGOs, and stakeholders at IDEA’s Caucasus Cat Summit in Baku recently to help plan the long-term preservation of the Caucasian leopard and Azerbaijan’s other unique wildlife.

Through this agreement, Panthera and IDEA have committed to assess the state and range of Azerbaijan’s leopards and, most importantly, work to develop conservation plans for the critically endangered population and train Azerbaijan’s scientists in research and conservation methodologies focused on saving the Caucasian leopard.

IDEA aims to foster conservation action among the country’s citizens, with a particular focus on the youth and next generation of Azerbaijan’s conservationists.

“We welcome Azerbaijan’s initiative in seeking to protect and expand its leopard population,” said Dr Thomas Kaplan, Panthera’s Chairman. “Having just launched the conservation world’s first global programme for leopard conservation, Project Pardus, we look forward to working with IDEA to make our shared ambition of saving this iconic species become a reality.”

Scientists estimate that a small but vital population of 12 or fewer Caucasian leopards remains in Azerbaijan. As the first, urgent step under this new international collaboration, 20 PantheraCams – remote-triggered cameras developed by Panthera – will be deployed to delineate where leopards still occur in Azerbaijan and estimate their remaining numbers.

Sitting at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, Azerbaijan is one of just a handful of countries that still supports a population of the Caucasian leopard and is therefore critical to the long-term survival of this wild cat. In conserving the Caucasian leopard, Azerbaijan is not only helping to preserve the species and the country’s diverse ecosystems, but is also conserving the ancient and historic cultural heritage of its country and people.

The leopard is heavily threatened by poachers who target this cat for its exotic skin and body parts, which are sold through the illegal wildlife market. Loss of habitat and fragmentation, particularly in the South Caucasus region, is another major threat along with conflict with local livestock herders and overhunting of the leopard’s prey by local villagers.

To read more about Panthera’s recently launched leopard programme, Project Pardus, please click here.

Photos: Black leopards spotted on camera traps: here.

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Country singer Shania Twain helping leopards


This video is called The Leopard Queen [Full Nature Wildlife Documentary].

From Wildlife Extra:

Shania Twain to help save leopards

Superstar country singer Shania Twain has joined cat conservation charity Panthera as a Global Ambassador for its newly launched leopard conservation initiative, Project Pardus. Twain intends to use her global platform to make the connection between the cat’s renowned beauty and its plight in the wild.

“The image and spirit of the leopard is an inspiration to millions around the world, including myself,” said Shania. “That it is also the most oppressed of the big cats is almost unknown. If we’re to save this animal in the wild, we have to get ahead of the curve before it suffers the same fate as so many other species that we once felt to be secure in their numbers. I feel privileged to give back to a creature that depends for its future on what we do now to save it…and I urge the wider world to join Panthera and me in this mission.”

Leopards are threatened by the relentless destruction of habitat, and are being killed in the thousands by livestock herders, unsustainable trophy-hunting and poaching for their skins and body parts.

Panthera’s work already encompasses the African leopard as well as the endangered Persian or Caucasian leopard of Central Asia and the highly persecuted Indian leopard. With Project Pardus, the organization will launch new conservation initiatives that target other highly endangered sub-species including the Arabian leopard and the Sri Lankan leopard.

“The leopard is an amazingly versatile cat, able to live in habitats ranging from tropical rainforests to the Kalahari Desert,’’ said Dr. Luke Hunter, Panthera’s President and one of the world’s authorities on leopards. “However, that adaptability has meant the species has been largely ignored by conservationists. We are delighted and honoured that Shania will help put the leopard onto the conservation radar. With her help, the leopard will receive the urgent attention it needs.”

This music video from the USA is called Shania Twain Up! Live In Chicago 2003.

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Armenian leopards win vote


This video from Armenia says about itself:

Caucasian Leopard in the Caucaus Wildlife Refuge – Daytime

29 August 2013

Camera-trap footage of a Caucasian Leopard (Panthera pardus saxicolor), from WLT’s Armenian partner FPWC (Foundation for the Preservation of Wildlife and Cultural Assets).

Further proof of the leopard‘s presence in the CWR and FPWC’s successful conservation work.

From Wildlife Extra:

Saving Armenia’s leopard wins £25,000 grant

The World Land Trust’s project, Saving Armenia’s Leopard – has won a grant of £25,000 from National Geographic Germany. In an online poll organised by the European Outdoor Conservation Association (EOCA) during the second half of March 2014, more than 52,000 votes were cast for 17 conservation projects all vying for funding.

WLT’s conservation partner in Armenia, Foundation for the Preservation of Wildlife and Cultural Assets (FPWC) will use the grant (approximately £25,000) to preserve habitat for the endangered caucasian leopard.

This sub species of leopard is registered as Endangered on the IUCN Red List and has a total population of no more than 1,300. The caucasian leopard’s stronghold is in Iran, where it is known as the Persian Leopard, but in Armenia there may be as few as 15 individuals remaining.

FPWC will use the grant to strengthen existing research and monitoring of this little studied and endangered predator. Funds will also be used to restore degraded mountainsides with a programme to plant 4,000 trees and to develop sustainable tourism initiatives with local communities.

Thanking all supporters, Ruben Khachatryan, FPWC’s founding Director, said: “Community development is a crucial cornerstone in our effort to protect the Caucasian Leopard. In Armenia most villages located in remote mountainous areas suffer from extreme poverty, triggering illegal logging for firewood on steep mountain slopes, over collection of wild edible crops, unsustainable livestock grazing and, of course, poaching. These human activities destroy the habitat of the Caucasian Leopard and many other rare species.

“FPWC’s Rural Eco-tourism programme – as well as the reforestation measures – addresses these problems and we are more than happy that the grant will help us not only to intensify our research and monitoring of the leopard but also to develop new income opportunities for the local population.”

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