On April 01, 2003 the Police officers confiscated a Far Eastern leopard skin in Kravtsovka village, Khasan district, southern Primorye. It is a second skin of this endangered animal confiscated since the beginning of 2003.
Today, with approximately 40 animals existing in the wild, Far Eastern leopard is considered to be the most endangered and rare big cat in the world.
There are three protected territories in the current Far Eastern leopard habitat, and all of them are of different status: small territory of Kedrovaya Pad nature reserve belongs to the Russian Academy of Science; Barsovy wildlife refuge belongs to Primorsky Hunting Management Department; Borisovskoe Plateau wildlife refuge belongs to the same Department, but has a regional status.
Yuri Darman, Far Eastern Branch, WWF-Russia, comments on the situation: “While these departments are trying to divide spheres of interests on the Leopard’s Land, the poachers continue killing leopards and international community does not have a possibility to help save this population. International experience approves that only big and strong protected territory can influence positively the endangered population. Today we do not have such territory! If such territory is created, international nature conservation organizations will provide financing for three years.”
…Five leopards killed in 2002 and two skins confiscated in 2003 make 25 percent the whole Far Eastern leopard population. What do you think, how many of them will remain in the wild by the end of this year?
Phoenix has been working hard for 5 years on conservation of this beautiful and highly endangered animal. Among our projects are Anti-poaching and fire-fighting activities in leopard habitat, environmental education and outreach, compensations for livestock killed by leopards, etc.