The specialists of the “Land of the Leopard” National Park have summarized the scientific materials collected over many years and came to the conclusion that the Amur leopards have expanded their range three times compared to the beginning of the century. Today, the world's rarest cat lives in all forest areas in the southwest of Primorsky Krai, which occupy 460 thousand hectares. The animals are also settling in neighboring China. There they have occupied about 150 thousand hectares in the border zone with Russia.
The core of the Amur leopard population is protected from poaching, fires and logging in the “Land of the Leopard” National Park and its protected zone, as well as in the “Kedrovaya Pad” Nature Reserve. Specially protected natural areas cover almost 75% of the rare cat's range.
“Over the years of research, it has been possible to collect a huge amount of scientific data on the Amur leopard, in particular thanks to the largest photomonitoring network in Russia that consists of 400 automatic cameras,” stressed Viktor Bardyuk, director of the “Land of the Leopard” FSBI. “Nature remains in harmony; a natural balance is maintained. In addition to about 100 leopards and 30 tigers, the protected areas are home to up to 22,000 sika deer, roe deer and wild boars. Large predators are an indicator of the state of the ecosystem: if the number of cats is stable, if they feel comfortable, then the nature as a whole is healthy."
China has also established a protected area – the Northeast Tiger and Leopard National Park. In 2019, the “Land of the Leopard” and the Chinese National Park signed a letter of intent. One of the goals of cooperation between the two sides is to create a single national park "Land of Big Cats", the world's first transboundary protected area for Amur leopards and Siberian tigers.
We would like to remind that due to the extermination of leopards and the destruction of their habitats over the past century, the range of the animal had decreased by more than 35 times by the beginning of this century. The last population survived only in the south-west of Primorsky Krai; the last 30 specimens in the world inhabited only 223,300 hectares of territory in core areas. After the measures were taken to preserve the leopard, its numbers began to recover.
It is important to note that the Amur leopard is the most peaceful of all subspecies of the leopard, the only one that never attacks humans, and the expansion of its range in forest zones that are not adjacent to human settlements does not pose a threat to people.