Scientists in Land of the Leopard National Park have discovered a leopard who is at least 16 years old. The spotted relic is a male named Alexei (Shufansky), number Leo 35M. It is the third senior-aged predator detected by researchers in the wild — leopards normally live 12 years.
A trail camera first captured Leopard Alexei in 2003, while in 2007-2012, when the wild cats were monitored with tracking collars, this male was the most frequent animal in massive catches — its collar was changed three times. In February 2016, national park experts found killed prey and installed a trail camera at the site to identify the unknown hunter. It turned out it was Alexei who had killed the deer.
"We caught the leopard nearly nine years ago and already then it was at an advanced age. We were very happy to see our old friend. Following his tracks, we discovered his hunting trail. We found out that Alexei has remained quite fit. During the chase, the hoofed animal suddenly changed direction, but the experienced predator ran very fast and showed very sharp reactions, actually catching his victim in twenty leaps," said Land of the Leopard engineer researcher Viktor Storozhuk.
This information will help experts gain a better insight into Far Eastern leopards' characteristics. Scientists are hopeful long-living leopards wouldn't be an exception.