Thursday, March 17, 2016

Siberian leopards living in the wild have DOUBLED under new Russian protection scheme

THE number of highly endangered Siberian leopards living in the wild has more than DOUBLED with more than 80 roaming free compared to just 30 just years ago.

Siberian leopards and Vladimir Putin 

The number of endangered Siberian leopards living in the wild has doubled thanks to a Russian scheme. And under a new scheme, the big cats are being permitted "free lunches" of livestock, with a state-backed insurance company promising to compensate farmers whose animals are eaten by the predators - as long as they do not shoot them.
Vladimir Putin's chief of staff Sergei Ivanov said there are now 80 Amur leopards in the wild, compared with just 30 a few years ago. There is now real hope that extinction can be avoided for the rare species which was denuded by decades of hunting and poaching. In recent years, the Russian government along with wildlife charities have taken measures to protect these big cats, one of the most vulnerable species on the planet.

Siberian tigers are also recovering. A survey revealed in December that there are now some 562 tigers in their natural habitat in the Far East of Russia.. But Mr Ivanov admitted that leopards "have started to attack livestock more often." He said that SOFGAZ insurance company, widely used by the Russian government, will compensate farmers who do not shoot leopards and tigers that attack their livestock.

Siberian leopards 

80 Amur leopards live in the wild, compared with just 30 a few years ago. He said: "One of the largest Russian insurance companies has volunteered to insure the damage caused by leopards and tigers. "The maximum insurance amounts to up to two million roubles."

This figure amounts to £20,500. In June, a leopard attacked a two month old calf grazing on a privately-owned farm in Primorye region.

On this occasion, Russian deputy premier Yuri Trutnev paid the farmer 70 bags of oats as compensation, but this sparked the idea of insurance compensation for farmers to protect the rare leopards and tigers, reported The Siberian Times.

Siberian tiger 
Siberian tigers are also recovering. Mr Ivanov has led a drive to save the leopard and he called the insurance scheme a "correct" and "civilised solution." He said: "We can say that our animals are becoming less exposed to dangers coming from humans. "In these conditions, our cats are reproducing very well."

A new tunnel is to be opened this month in the Land of the Leopard national park in eastern Russia, to allow the big cats to migrate under a highway.

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