The Far Eastern leopard is the rarest big cat in the world, with only about 90 remaining in the wild. But the subspecies was teetering on the brink of extinction in the late 20th century, when there were only 30-35 leopards left.
In 2011, protective measures began to be implemented, and the situation improved. The independent non-profit organisation Far Eastern Leopards was established in order to study, preserve and restore the leopard population in Russia. In 2012, the Government passed a resolution establishing Land of the Leopard National Park in the Primorye Territory. In 2013, the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation was amended to introduce criminal penalties for poaching, keeping, transporting and selling extremely rare wild animals, Far Eastern leopards included. The first conviction has been handed down for possession and sale of a leopard skin.
These efforts have already produced results. The leopard population has started to grow, and its geographical distribution has expanded, spreading from Russia into China. We have managed to stop the extermination of the rarest wild cat in the world, but the population must reach at least 150 before the Far Eastern leopard can be considered safe.
We work closely with Land of the Leopard National Park and the Kedrovaya Pad Nature Reserve where most Far Eastern leopards live. We help combat the main threats to the leopard's survival, including poaching and forest fires. Our organisation also sponsors projects to maintain populations of animals that constitute the main source of food for the leopard.
Apart from protecting the predator and its habitat, we sponsor research projects at Land of the Leopard National Park. Various types of monitoring are performed to measure the population of this highly secretive animal and the efficiency of protection measures.
We believe that to know the Far Eastern leopard is to love it, and we are doing everything possible to introduce this rare animal to more people. We hold news conferences, roundtable discussions, exhibitions and other media events, and produce popular science documentaries.
Friends, together we can save this unique predator!