A female leopard, re-released into the wild, was killed in the Caucasus

© RIA Novosti / Anton to Baluchiterium in fotobanka leopard. Archival photoA female leopard, re-released into the wild, was killed in the Caucasus© RIA Novosti / Anton to Baluchiterium the image Bank

A female leopard Victoria, caught stealing chickens in Abkhazia and later re-released into the wild, died in the mountains of the Caucasian nature reserve, presumably as a result of unsuccessful hunting, the press service of the Ministry of natural resources.

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 before a person, after which it was re-released in late December.

«A female Persian leopard Victoria was found according to the coordinates of the collar on the territory of the Caucasian reserve. Any damages, injuries, the animal is not detected. Comparing these data and the migration routes of a cat with the help of satellite tracking, given the lack of adverse weather phenomena, the availability of sufficient fodder, the WG came to the conclusion that the death of leopard occurred in mid-January as a result of unsuccessful hunting big game (deer, wild boar, chamois, Tur, and so forth)», — stated in the message Department.

The press service added that the death of Victoria was a big loss for the program. «We lost the only female and this year will not be able to rely on breeding our leopards in the wild. However, any program associated with restoration of animal populations, are not immune from such risks, especially if we are talking about leopards, which generally hunt prey that are much bigger than their size» — are in the message the Ministry of natural resources to the Director of the world wildlife Fund (WWF) Igor Chestin.

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. Now 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).

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