The specialists of the “Land of the Leopard” National Park in Primorye shared unique footage of a large family of Amur leopards. A camera trap captured an adult spotted predator Leo 117F and three of her cubs on the top of a mountain, which met with an unidentified animal.
At first, in the video, the family is simply resting on a "viewing" rock platform with an overview of the surrounding protected forest. However, later, the mother notices the movement of an unknown object nearby, which remains off-screen. The female leaves the cubs and goes to investigate. Soon, the cubs also begin to carefully observe from a safe distance the interaction of the mother with the intruder. At the same time, the cubs do not look scared – they do not take their eyes off what is happening and try to catch every detail. The object remains off-screen, so we can only guess what kind of animal it was.
"It is possible that Leo 117F found potential prey – deer or roe deer – and went hunting to get food for the family and demonstrate to the cubs the skills of an experienced predator," the press service of the national park comments.
Although the object, which the cubs are observing with great interest, remains a mystery, the scientists have learned that everything is fine with Leo 117F and her cubs: they were recently captured by camera traps elsewhere in the national park.
“Photo and video recording of Amur leopard cubs is a rather rare phenomenon. Unlike adults, cubs of the Red Book cats are less likely to get caught on camera because their mothers are cautious. Females try not to bring their offspring near common animal paths, where most of the automatic cameras are installed. In this regard, the appearance on the video of Leo 117F, accompanied by three cubs at once, was a joyful event," note at the national park.
The Amur leopard is the rarest large cat in the world. The length of the males reaches 136 cm; the weight is about 50 kg. It is the northernmost subspecies of the leopard, and the only one that has learned to live and hunt in the snow.
According to recent surveys, about 100 Amur leopards have been recorded in Russia. These rare animals live in the southwest of Primorsky Krai, as well as in a small area of China bordering Russia. The core of the population is under the protection of the “Land of the Leopard”. In the early 2000s, there were only about 35 Amur leopards in the world. Reliable protection of the territory from poaching and fires, an increase in the number of ungulates and environmental education of the local population became the basis for a threefold increase in the population.
Since 2011, the Russian Geographical Society has been supporting the “Amur Leopard” project.