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Leopard numbers up in Russian Far East giving hope wild cat will be saved

February 17, 2015, 10:34 UTC+3 VLADIVOSTOK
The leopard population in the region is 57 species, growing significantly from a few years ago when up to 35 leopards lived in the region
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© ITAR-TASS/Vladimir Zinin

VLADIVOSTOK, February 17. /TASS/. The number of species at threat of extinction is not declining in Russia’s Far East, suggests data of the sensus of Siberian tigers and Far Eastern leopards proving that they can be saved.

The leopard population in the region is 57 species, growing significantly from a few years ago when up to 35 leopards lived in the region, Primorye Governor Vladimir Miklushevsky said on Tuesday referring to the sensus launched on January 31.

"To be absolutely confident that the population will be preserved, scientists give the figure of 100 to 120 species," he said, adding that the population of Siberian (or Amur) tigers in the region was not declining either.

The tiger sensus in the Russian Far East takes place every ten years. This year, specialists examined Primorye, the south of Khabarovsk region, the Jewish Autonomous Ara and the southeast of Amur region - the areas populated by these predators. Work has not been finished only in some areas of Khabarovsk region due to snowfalls.

More than 2,000 specialists examined about 150,000 square kilometers of taiga, fixing and measuring predators’ paw prints. The processed data makes it possible to determine the animals’ number, age and sex. The final figures of the sensus will be made public in October 2015.

Ten years ago, 423 to 502 Siberian tigers lived in the south of the Russian Far East, or 95% of their global population.

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) puts the population of Far Eastern leopards at about 40, most of them living in Russia’s Primorye.

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