CryptoVille shares a recent report by the WWF that shows the critically endangered Amur leopard is repopulating areas of Russia and China thanks to conservation efforts. These beautiful and resilient animals still have a long way to go, but their resiliency is impressive. What could that mean for any big cats living in the Alaskan wilds?
In an article on LiveScience.com, Elizabeth Palermo shares some good news with the world about the critically endangered Amur leopard population. It seems that since 2007 the leopards have doubled their population in Russia and parts of China.
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) gathered data primarily from the Leopard National Park in Russia which accounts for 60% of this animal’s natural habitat. They counted 57 individual leopards which is up from 30 in 2007. Clearly the leopards still have a long way to go to kick the endangered label, but this is a good start.
In addition, scientists spotted about a dozen more of these leopards in the wilds of northeastern China, another part of their natural habitat.
According to Barney Long, who is the director of species protection and Asian species conservation for the WWF, “Such a strong rebound in Amur leopard numbers is further proof that even the most critically endangered big cats can recover if we protect their habitat and work together on conservation efforts. There’s still a lot of work to be done in order to secure a safe future for the Amur leopard, but these numbers demonstrate that things are moving in the right direction.”
So how did they get an actual count of the leopards in these areas? Through camera traps that were placed by experts from the Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences. They placed the traps throughout a 1,400 square mile area and collected approximately 10,000 photos. They could tell individual leopards from other ones thanks to the fact each leopard has its own unique arrangement of spots.
Siberian/Amur Tigers Benefit
Due to the same conservation efforts that are helping the leopards, Siberian tigers are beginning to thrive in these same natural habitats. In 2009 scientists only counted 56 tigers in that area of Russia, but now they figure the number may be more around 350 individual tigers and their habitat is spreading into northeastern China.
Division head of the Wangqing Nature Reserve, Wang Fuyou, said, “These images show that Wangqing Nature Reserve has now become a breeding site for Amur tigers. Seeing these positive outcomes from our efforts greatly strengthens our confidence that wild Amur tiger populations can be restored.”
Russian and Chinese scientists are working together to monitor populations of both Amur leopard and tiger in their respective areas. It’s a bit of good news in a world that is losing so many animals every year to extinction.
Finding Bigfoot and Other Cryptids
I think the most important point to take away from this piece, apart from our happiness for the leopards and tigers, is that the scientists mounted a full campaign to gather evidence of these creatures. They took over 10,000 trail camera photos spanning 1,400 square miles!!
When people hunt for Bigfoot and other cryptids, they seem to keep the cameras up for a few days, maybe a week. I have never heard of them getting more than a few dozen photos from each camera.
That puts us at a statistical disadvantage. The more cameras employed, the longer they’re in the wild, the more photos we let them take, then the greater chance we’ll have of getting good shots of Bigfoot and other cryptids.
I realize that’s a huge undertaking for one person, or even a small group of hunters. That’s why I’ve said before I think the Bigfoot hunting community at large needs to work together more and cooperate in these data finding experiments.
In addition, I believe (and strongly urge) scientists to get more involved in searching for the animals that live in the remote Alaskan wildernesses. Who knows what they would find? There may be Siberian/Amur tigers and leopards living there. Some natives believe there are big cats in the back country, but how will we ever know?
I know those areas are very hard to reach and extremely hazardous, but I’m sure we could do it if a couple universities threw their support behind it and got the funding needed to complete this research.
Will we ever see that day? We can only hope.
But don’t be sad, this report has shared some very good and exciting news with us – given half a chance, these very resilient big cats can and do make a resurgence in their natural environments and our world is all the more richer and more wonderful because of it!
What do you think?