MOSCOW, February 20. /TASS/. Pope Francis has expressed a desire to travel to Russia’s Far Eastern city of Vladivostok after his trip to Mongolia, to visit the Land of the Leopard National Park, Leonid Sevastyanov, chairman of the World Union of Old Believers, told TASS on Monday, referring to a personal conversation with the pope.
Earlier Sevastyanov told TASS that Pope Francis had given a name to a Far Eastern leopard from Russia's national park. He named him Martin Fierro, after the main character of the same name epic poem by Argentine writer Jose Hernandez.
"The pope expressed a desire, if possible, to visit this park, to see what the Russian leopard habitat looks like. He said he could do it on his way from Mongolia, where he will be this spring. On his way from Mongolia, he could stop over in Vladivostok to visit the Russian leopard park. He is ready to fly under favorable conditions," he said on Monday.
Sevastyanov said the pope was impressed by the national park's success in restoring the population of the nearly extinct predator. Within 10 years, the number of leopard species has increased from 30 to almost 150, Sevastyanov explained.
The park was created 10 years ago. Since then, its territory has been constantly expanding to the current area of about 300,000 hectares.