On August 28, 2005 the already traditional Leopard Land Festival took place on the beach of Baklan bay in Slavyanka City in the Khasan district, the habitat of the last remaining 30 Far Eastern leopards. Held with the financial help of two NGOs, WWF and the Phoenix Fund, the festival gathered hundreds of citizens, guests and tourists. It’s worth reminding that last year the Khasan district administration declared this Festival an official annual festival. This year the Leopard Land was a little different from the previous one, the citizens of Khasan region organized it themselves. Among the participating organizations there were the NGO “Living World”, the Center of the children creative work and the Youth Affairs Department of the local administration.
The festival was opened by a welcome speech of the local officials. Schoolchildren from Slavyanka, Barabash, Khasan and other villages of the Khasan district took part in the festival. Children prepared a bright theatrical performance, and the Center of the children creative work presented different outfits and hairdos, implemented in the leopard design. All the children took an active part in various funny contests and games.
The winners got memorable prizes from the Phoenix Fund and WWF. August 28 was not the only day of the festival. On September 18 the festival continued in villages of the Khasan district, marking the beginning of the ecological marathon “Leopard and his Home”. This year all the schools in Khasan district are joining the work for the conservation of the Far Eastern leopard, the survival of which is threatened by poaching, prey depletion and habitat reduction. Recently there appeared a new serious threat – the construction of the oil pipeline “Eastern Siberia – Pacific ocean”. Many of the damaging human activities result from ecological ignorance of the local people. Some of them do not know that they live on the leopard land. That is why the aim of the festival according to Dmitri Varenik, the director of the NGO ‘Living World” (the Youth Ecological Innovation Center) is to draw the attention of local people, to make them consider leopard the symbol of our region and be proud of it.