Popular television host and zoologist Nikolai Drozdov has become the keeper of Leo 64M. He named the Far Eastern leopard Baikal to highlight how important it is to protect the deepest lake and the largest reservoir of fresh water in the world.
"The Far Eastern leopard and Lake Baikal are two unique elements of nature Russia focuses on preserving. They are important symbols of environmental work in Russia, and one of them, the Far Eastern leopard preservation programme, is already an example of success. Over the last decade, the population of the predator has almost tripled, and I would like to believe that other environmental projects will share its success. Baikal is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is the deepest lake on the planet and contains one-fifth (20 percent) of the world's fresh water. It is the main treasury of fresh water in Russia and for Russia. This is why it is so important to remember that we must protect this unique natural region and its inhabitants," Nikolai Drozdov noted.
It was employees of Vorontsov Land of the Leopard who suggested that Nikolai Drozdov should be offered an opportunity to name a wild Far Eastern leopard and become its keeper. The well-known scientist and journalist became a keeper of the leopard Leo 64M, a young active male in good shape who is photographed by camera traps in the central part of the national park every year. In 2017, the leopard was spotted with a female, which gives experts hope that they will one day see his cubs. From now on, Nikolai Drozdov will receive updates on his leopard every six months.
Baikal the leopard
"Nikolai Drozdov has made an enormous contribution to raising awareness of nature in Russia and on the planet. Thanks to him, many Russians learned about the work done to conserve Far Eastern leopards. We are sure that having agreed to become a leopard keeper, he will continue this important work to keep society informed about the Far Eastern leopard preservation project," noted Viktor Bardyuk, director of Vorontsov Land of the Leopard.
Nikolai Drozdov will receive an official leopard keeper certificate within a month.
Leopard keepers are like godparents to the rare felines who provide active support to Land of the Leopard's environmental activities. These individuals and organisations are united by their desire to help protect the environment.
Nikolai Drozdov (PhD in Biology) is a professor at Lomonosov Moscow State University and a member of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, the Russian Environmental Academy, the Russian Television Academy and the Russian Geographical Society Media Council. He won the Albert Einstein Medal and the UNESCO Kalinga Prize. One of the most prominent advocates of environment protection in Russia, he was named to the Global 500 Roll of Honour, which recognises leading environmentalists from all over the world. Thanks to Nikolai Drozdov's work on the In the World of Animals show, millions of people have discovered the rich variety of animals and birds in Russia and neighbouring countries over many decades. The show has often featured the Far Eastern leopard, the world's rarest large cat.