After completing the last rehabilitation stage, Leo 80M, the leopard who injured his paw in a poacher's trap, will be ready to be released into the wild, say experts of the scientific and technical council of Land of the Leopard National Park.
The meeting of experts was also attended by feline behaviourists and representatives from environmental agencies of the Primorye Territory. Yekaterina Blidchenko, an employee at the Center for Rehabilitation and Reintroduction of Tigers and Other Rare Animals, where Leo 80M is now being kept, told the meeting about the animal.
"The leopard is well built, fast and most likely will not have problems hunting. His injured paw did not prevent him from climbing trees to explore his enclosure. It is also important that Leo 80M is confident. He can make quick decisions and adapts easily to new conditions. All of this means that he will be able to compete with other leopards in their natural habitat," Yekaterina Blidchenko said.
However, before being released, the leopard will have to pass a behavioural course, which will be developed to prepare the animal for life in the wild and to teach him to avoid humans; flare guns and loud noises will be used to do so.
Though all 16 members of the council agreed that Leo 80M should be released, the final decision will be made by the Federal Service for Supervision of Natural Resources.