The Far Eastern leopard Nikolai has been introduced to his future mate. For now, the animals live in open-air enclosures next to each other and can communicate through the bars, according to the Moscow Zoo press service.
Nikolai's mate is leopardess named Akra. She was approved by the coordinator of the Far Eastern leopard conservation programme. Once the male turns three and reaches the age of sexual maturity — which is approximately at the beginning of next year, the two wild cats will be brought together.
Nikolai moved to the Moscow Zoo's Centre for Rare Animal Species Reproduction in June 2016. Before that he spent a year at the Centre for the Rehabilitation and Reintroduction of Tigers and Other Rare Animals (PRNCO "Tiger Centre") in the Primorye Territory where he was brought when he was suffering from an injured paw which had been caught in a trap.