Persian leopard to return to North Caucasus
Russian Minister for Natural Resources and Ecology Sergey Donskoy said in Sochi that the ministry and the WWF plan to restore the population of Persian leopards, also known as the Caucasian leopards, in the North Caucasus, Yuga.ru reports.
A group of 50-70 leopards will be formed in 10-15 years. The Sochi National Park has four leopards from Iran and Turkmenistan. A new group of leopards arrived from the Lisbon Zoo.
The Sochi National Park includes the Teberdinsky and Kavkazsky, Sochi and Dautsky Natural Reserves. The complex includes the Ritsinsky Natural Reserve of Abkhazia. They cover a total of 1 million hectares.
WWF director in Russia Igor Chestin said that leopards used to live in the Caucasus about 100 years ago until the 1920s. They were killed during the civil war to be used for poisons and knots to scare wolves away.
Iran has 150-200 of the leopards. Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan have about 15-20 each. Turkmenistan has up to 120.