The Far Eastern leopard Leo 131M, saved by vets after suffering severe injures, has found a keeper – Svetlana Radionova, Head of the Federal Service for Supervision of Natural Resources. She named the leopard Elbrus — in honour of the highest mountain peak in Russia and Europe. The Far Eastern Leopards autonomous non-profit organisation has meting the costs of the animal’s treatment and accommodation.
The keeper’s certificate was presented on 27 September. During a visit to the Primorye Territory, Svetlana Radionova visited the Centre for the Rehabilitation and Reintroduction of Tigers and Other Rare Animals (Tiger Centre), where the Far Eastern leopard Leo 131M has been staying.
Svetlana Radionova personally monitored the fate of the wounded Far Eastern leopard, who unlike many other injured animals, was lucky enough to get into the hands of competent experts from the Tiger Centre. She gratefully accepted the proposal of Land of the Leopard director Viktor Bardyuk to become the animal’s keeper.
“I am honoured to be the keeper of this beautiful and graceful predator. I would like to thank the Tiger Centre and Land of the Leopard for treating the wounded animal and helping him on time. The Far Eastern leopard and Mount Elbrus are unique objects of nature in Russia. Elbrus is Europe’s highest mountain peak and it is very difficult to conquer it. In addition, Elbrus is considered a standard of natural beauty and is one of the symbols of Russia. So this name is very suitable for this strong and majestic predator," said Radionova.
Also, she examined the enclosure, which houses the animal, and received first-hand the latest updates on his health. According to experts, the animal needs an additional operation on the scapula, where a chondroma, a seal made of cartilage, formed after the injury. The Head of Rosprirodnadzor promised to assist in ensuring an early and high-quality operation involving the best specialists in the country.
“For now, the decision to release the animal has been postponed. We will assess his condition after the operation. We hope that he will be released into the wild when he has completely recovered. Having his own keeper and a special "lofty" name, we are confident that life will turn out well for the leopard. We are grateful to Ms Radionova for the support provided,” said Viktor Bardyuk.
Throughout Leo 131M’s rehabilitation, information on his health was sent to the Federal Service for Supervision of Natural Resources (Rosprirodnadzor). Its specialists provided advisory support towards the rehabilitation of the animal. At the same time, the service repeatedly raised the question of the need to streamline the mechanism for helping injured wild animals in Russia at the legislative level.
Leo 131M was in critical condition when he was captured by members of the local hunting supervision department near Land of the Leopard on 3 March. The badly injured leopard was brought to the Tiger Centre. Based on his injuries, experts believe he had a fight with another male leopard. After two months of treatment, the leopard was moved into a 5,000-square-metre open-air enclosure.