According to researchers from Land of Leopard National Park, a leopard cub with an injured paw found by Russian border guards near China had never been captured by trail cameras in Russia. They came to this conclusion after comparing its spots with the patterns on the other leopards in their database.
"In 2014, the National Park's trail cameras recorded 57 leopards, but this leopard is not one of them," science division chief Anna Vitkalova said. "We've been monitoring the national park for two years, but it's simply not possible to record each animal this way, especially the wary cubs."
Specialists say the injured one-year-old lost four toes on one of his front paws after falling into a poachers' trap. Vets have performed surgery, preserving the paw. The leopard's state is stable: it can drink water and take food. The surgery has generally helped the cub but its life is still in some danger.
The cat's destiny is unknown. There is high likelihood that it will be unable to resume its former lifestyle in nature. Hoping for the best, scientists assigned the animal a unique sequential number, Leo 80M, where "M" stands for "male" and 80, for its number in the database.