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World's rarest big cat gets a check-up
Date:10/30/2008

ts are considering is trans-locating leopards from other areas to increase genetic diversity -- similar to what happened with Florida panthers when animals from Texas were brought in to supplement the remaining population. Today, Florida panthers have risen from less than ten individuals to a population of approximately 100.

The leopard capture and release was overseen by representatives of the Russian federal agency "Inspection Tiger," a special department of the Ministry of Natural Resources.

"This project has been ongoing for just over two years, and scientific work to capture Amur tigers and Far Eastern leopards in this part of Primorsky Krai has always been distinguished by the participation of world-class specialists and use of the best equipment and methodologies," said Sergei Zubtsov, the head of Inspection Tiger. "I want to note that the leopard captured for medical analysis and released represents another achievement for this highly-qualified team, and that one of the most important things is that she was not harmed at any point in the capture process. I hope that such fruitful collaboration will continue in the future."

Over the last 100 years, Far Eastern leopard numbers have been reduced by poaching combined with habitat loss. However, both camera-trapping and snow-tracking surveys indicate that the population has been stable for the last 30 years, but with a high rate of turnover of individuals. If inbreeding or disease can be kept in check, WCS and its partners believe there is great potential for increasing survival rates and habitat recovery in both Russia and Northeast China.

The Wildlife Conservation Society's work to protect Far Eastern leopards receives funding by the following U.S. government agencies: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service's Rhinoceros and Tiger Conservation Fund, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation's Save the Tiger Fund, and U.S. Forest Service International Program. The Far Eastern leopard is listed under
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Contact: Stepehn Sautner
ssautner@wcs.org
718-220-3682
Wildlife Conservation Society
Source:Eurekalert

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