Amur Leopard Reintroduction

Amur leopard marking a tree

Amur leopard marking a tree

The Amur leopard is probably the only large cat for which a reintroduction program using zoo stock is considered a necessary  conservation action with some prospect of taking place in the near  future.

A reintroduction plan has been prepared by local and international  experts, including Lazovsky Zapovednik, the Ministry of Natural  Resources and Primorski Krai Administration, WCS, ZSL and WWF amongst others. Given  political support and the necessary funding, it is possible that in 1-2  years from now preparations in the field (building of holding facilities  and other infrastructure) will have begun.

The releases would take place in the Lazovsky  Nature Reserve in Southern Sikhote Alin, an area where  leopards disappeared approximately 30 years ago. It is unknown what  caused the local extinction in this area, but circumstances have  improved since that time, as a result of an increase in suitable prey  (especially sika deer).

With  improved conservation in both Russia and China, we could expect an  increase in the present population in the wild from 70 animals to  approximately 90 animals in 15-20 years. We hope a second population of  at least 30 animals will also have been established by that time.