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VLADIVOSTOK, March 15 (Itar-Tass) – The number of rare Amur leopards has increased by half.
Last February, they numbered 48-50, and in 2007 no more than 35 leopards lived in the southwest region of the Primorsky Territory, programme coordinator of the Amur regional organization of the World Wildlife Fund Sergei Aramilev told a press conference in Vladivostok on Friday.
"But even 50 are very few. When there are 70–100, then one can say that the species is not endangered," he noted.
For the first time since 2007, the rare inhabitants of the taiga were counted all over the area where they live, but not on separate grounds. For two days, the counters followed tracks of leopards and registered them all over the southwest of the Primorsky Territory. The results of photo monitoring and the DNA analysis were added to the data.
It was a pleasant surprise for scientists and environmentalists when they discovered leopards in places where they were not seen for many years before. For example, a whole family lives at the Russian-Chinese border now. Last year, five young cats were added to the population.
Amur leopards are among the rarest spices. They inhabit the area of about 5,000 sq km at the Chinese, North Korean and Russian borders. In the past 50 years, the area of their population decreased by half.
Additional measures were taken in Russia in recent years to protect the rare animals. More than half of the leopard-populated area is within the recently set up national park Land of Leopard, which occupies 280,000 hectares.
During the inspection, tracks of 23 Amur tigers were also found. The number of tigers has also risen.