Cameratrap survey of Amur leopard in the National Park “Land of the Leopard” (Russia, Far East)
National Park “Land Of The Leopard”Authors
Vitkalova Anna, Matyukhina Dina, Storozhuk Victor, Salmanova Elena
Introduction: What conservation problem or question does your study address?
The population size of Amur leopard (Panthera pardus orientalis) is about 50 individuals part of them living on protected area of Russia, National Park “Land of the Leopard”. Previously cameratrap survey was conducted on two monitoring areas covering no more than 30% of the National Park. Large-scale cameratrap survey covering all the National Park is required to get the precise data on the leopard number.
Methods: What were the main research methods you used?
200 cameratraps (Reconyx PC900, Bestok M660G, ScoutGuard DTC-560K) were installed on the whole territory of the National park “Land of the leopard”. Area of study covered 2800 km2. The research period continued from May 2013 until February 2014. For the first time, ExtractCompare software was used for individual identification instead of classical visual comparison.
Results: What are your most important results?
Cameratraps installed by “Land of the leopard” revealed 300 encounters of Amur leopard. 2440 images of Amur leopard were obtained. 35 individual leopards were identified including 29 adults (18 males, 8 females, 3 unknown sex) and 6 cubs. The project also had another unexpected result – Amur leopard album, internet database and mobile application, aimed ecological education of public.
Discussion: What are your important discussion points and what is the relevance of your results to conservation (if any)?
The data of cameratrap survey is the basis for further ecological monitoring of the population. Precise individual identification allows to obtain the valid data on the Amur leopard number and sex structure. Moreover, thousands of cameratrap images are the valuable material for ecological education and public attraction.