A female leopard caught in Abkhazia stealing chickens released into the wild

© RIA Novosti / Alexey Nickelskutterudite leopard. Archival photoA female leopard caught in Abkhazia stealing chickens released into the wild© RIA Novosti / Alexei Nikolsky

A female leopard Victoria caught stealing chickens in Abkhazia, re-released Thursday on the crest of a mountain Ekzarha in the Caucasian reserve where it was released for the first time in July 2016, the correspondent of RIA Novosti.

As previously reported, in November one of the rarest Persian leopards, three species of which were released in 2016 from the Sochi nursery, was caught in Abkhazia. The animal was a female Victoria, which moved from the territory of the Caucasian reserve, came to the village of Lykhny, where for some time fed on chickens with private yards. Victoria was caught by local residents, then placed in a specially made cage. Later employees of the Ministry of natural resources moved her to the center of the recovery of the leopard in the Caucasus, where she re-passed the exam on the degree of readiness for independent life in the natural environment.

According to the experts, Victoria has successfully coped with the test on the natural fear of a wild animal in front of a man. During the «certification» female increased the distance between himself and the man in 10 times in comparison with the test in 2016, which is a very good indicator. Also the female was wearing a satellite collar, which will allow scientists to track her movements. Thursday special transport cage with Victoria was taken by helicopter to the ridge of the mountain Azarva, almost on the same spot where occurred the first issue of three leopards in July 2016. As told reporters the Director of «Caucasian state nature biosphere reserve» Sergey Shevelev, re-release the animal in nature was successful.

«In the area within a radius of one hundred meters, we saw bison, saw a deer, saw tours stood. The forage reserve is almost for her (females) are provided. Snow depths of 30 inches in the wrong place. With the release once it came out, people did not pay attention, went to the right and left over the hill to stand on. Along with her were two people, a monitoring group our. Tomorrow they will report back to us where we are, starts fully online monitor it. One of the important factors — how it behaves towards the people after the second release. The nearest settlement of more than a hundred miles, so everything is safe, also to have full control over it,» said Shevelev.

Experts hope that this time, Victoria finally meet one of the males of the leopard, released earlier nature with it — Akhun or Killy — and to procreate. This is one of the key aspects of the program to restore the leopard in the Caucasus. Now all three animals are from each other at a short distance, so the chance of spotting leopards and the appearance of kittens is quite high. Just from the beginning of the next year of the leopard, a period of reproduction. In General, the release of leopards into the wild is going well, told the press the Deputy Director General for environmental activities of ANO «Center of nature of the Caucasus» Natalia Vavilov. According to her, the experts made such conclusion after analyzing the statistics of hunting predators and how they spent the winter.

Persian leopards were released into the wild in the Caucasus is to restore populations in the mountains of the Caucasus state biosphere reserve in mid-July 2016. Three pioneers who went into the forests of the Caucasus, were males Akhun and Killy, and also female Victoria, grown in the heart of the recovery of the leopard in Sochi. The Persian subspecies of leopard earlier lived on the territory from the North Caucasus to the red sea and from the Bosporus to India. However, in the twentieth century its distribution has decreased significantly. Currently, in the Caucasus this species of leopards almost never occurs. He is listed in the Red book as endangered.

Program to restore the Persian leopard in the Western Caucasus was initiated in 2009, Vladimir Putin. It is the Ministry of natural resources with participation of the Sochi national Park, Caucasus nature reserve, Institute of ecology and evolution RAS, Moscow zoo and WWF, and facilitated by the International Union for conservation of nature (IUCN) and the European Association of zoos and aquaria (EAZA).