Leo 45F with a cub© Land of the Leopard press service
14 September 2018

New leopard cubs captured on camera near popular ‘marking tree’

A Far Eastern leopardess and her cubs, which had not been seen on camera before, were captured by a trail camera near a tree where animals leave their marks in the northern part of Land of the Leopard National Park. In all, 11 animal species have been spotted near the ‘marking tree' at various times.

Trail cameras captured an Amur tiger, brown and Himalayan bears, boars, deer, weasel, badger, hare, fox and even a hedgehog near the Schmidt birch, listed in the Russian Red Data Book. However, the most interesting footage was of a family of Far Eastern leopards, Leo 48F and her three cubs.

Unlike most other animals that marked the tree, the spotted predators decided not to join the dialogue. Hiding from potential enemies, the cautious mother did not leave her mark and led the cubs further away. However, the curious youngsters inspected the marks to learn how prey or a threat can smell.

"Such a ‘marking tree' is a convenient place to collect and transfer information in the animal world; it is part of what researchers call the biological signal field. Animals leave their urine, fur and claw marks, exchanging information about their species, sex and even age. They leave messages about everything: when they are looking for a mate, claiming their territory, etc." said Yekaterina Blidchenko, an engineer and researcher at Vorontsov Land of the Leopard and a zoologist at the Tiger Centre.

Experts say that the popularity of the tree among so many animals is not an accident. The tree stands out in the landscape and can be seen well by all forest inhabitants. The trail camera installed nearby has captured animals walking the path and also provided valuable information about the social behaviour of wild animals.

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