Sochi leopard breeding center

Yesterday I managed to get to the Sochi National Park leopard breeding center.
I went there with American reporter Bill Donahue, who writes for the ON EARTH magazine He was staying in Sochi for few days and I worked as an interpreter for him. Thanks tohinds for his recommendation to do this.
We interviewed many interesting people who are connected with National Park, Caucasus Nature Reserve, Russian Geographical Society.
Bill was looking for the information about Caucasus leopard population here. It is officially considered that leopards are disappeared here 30-40 years ago. But we found witnesses in Krasnaya Polyana who affirm that they’ve seen leopard was stealing a pregnant goat through the window of the shed (at the high of 2 meters) in 2010. These people look adequate and reliable. Caucasus Nature Reserve workers are saying it cannot be the true… So, this story is still a mystery…
The last day of the Bill visit here we finally got a permit to visit the breeding center. We also got a big surprise – few days ago two new baby cats are borned there. This news was kept as a secret for a few days and we were one of the first people who got this news (after president Putin of course, who is initiated this center creation). The same day the director of the breeding center took us there with his jeep. These are few pictures I've taken there

The plan of the breeding center. It’s about 500 meters long

It is surrounded by 5 or 6 meters high fence with video cameras. At the top of the fence metal sheets are fixed, to prevent leopards to climb over, because grid fence is not a problem for them. Actually it happened before and center staff had no other choice but catch them with there hands. The Director – Ulmar Smenov got big scars (scratches) on his body.

Wood made lair

Watch tower

Stuff to play with

The breeding center is located in a very quiet place, far away from people settlements.
There are many mushrooms there

Bill is on the right

Rabbits are also breeding there, new born cats need to study hunting. Poor rabbits (((

These baby cats are going to be released in wild environment in the middle of Caucasus Reserve in about 1.5 years.
We were not allowed to take a picture of leopards. They get very nervous when strangers get close to them, their behavior can be unpredictable, especially now, when they got babies.
The monitoring is done remotely using cameras. Video is coming to this room. The Director of the center is watching what is going on

Mother and babies

The father – photo from Lisbon zoo

P. S.
I’m not a professional interpreter, sorry for any possible mistakes here )))
  • 17 июля 2013, 17:03
  • Walker

Комментарии (2)

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thank you for an interesting article, good job!
Did you have a chance to pick the mushrooms? they look splendid! :)


  • 19 июля 2013, 09:27
No, this is a kind of reserved place, we didn’t even think to pick it


  • 19 июля 2013, 11:01

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