Amur leopard reintroduction is something that has been in planning stages for some years now. The Amur leopard is the first ever big-cat carnivore, to be reintroduced to the wild using animals from the captive breeding programme. But why is it necessary for these big cats, whose population is already rebounding in the wild?
The number of Amur leopards had remained at such low levels for a number of decades, it was deemed necessary that a reintroduction to create a secondary insurance population should happen in order to secure their future in the wild.
A reintroduction plan was prepared by a number of Russian and international organisations including the Ministry of Natural Resources, Primorski Krai Administration, Moscow Zoo, Lazovsky Zapovednik, ZSL and WCS amongst others. Given political support and the necessary funding, it is possible that in 1-2 years from now preparations in situ (building of breeding and holding facilities and other infrastructure) will have begun.
With continued and greater conservation efforts in both Russia and China, we could expect to see an increase in the current wild population from 80 individuals to approximately 100 animals in 15-20 years. We hope the second reintroduced population will also be established and growing within that timeframe, ultimately reaching similar numbers.