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.
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.
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.