Trail cameras in the Caucasus Wildlife Refuge have caught several tantalising glimpses into the life and behaviour of Armenia’s rare Caucasian Leopards.
An increase in recent recordings has provided brief insights into the nocturnal lives of these elusive big cats, which are rarely seen by people.
“We are so pleased to be seeing this magnificent animal more regularly on our trail cameras,” says Ruben Khachatryan, Founder of the Foundation for the Preservation of Wildlife and Cultural Assets (FPWC). “It shows that the reserve has become a safe haven for the Caucasian Leopard, and the ecosystem is healthy enough to provide food for this large carnivore.
“For the last eight years, we have protected the Caucasus Wildlife Refuge against poaching, logging and negative human impact. With support from World Land Trust (WLT) to extend the reserve and fund our team of rangers we have been able to give this incredible habitat time to recover from the damage these threats have inflicted previously.
“Our partnership with VivaCell – MTS has helped put a network of trail cameras in place so we can see the impact our work is having. With the help of the cameras it is possible to track our wildlife 24 hours a day, seven days a week: Bezoar Ibex, Brown Bears, Bearded Vulture, as well as common species such as boars, foxes and wolves are frequently spotted.
“As it is thought that less than ten leopards live in the whole territory of Armenia, every clip is vital to record their movements and track individuals as they move through Armenian mountains. The recent footage has revealed the presence of a young, male leopard we hadn’t seen before, which is very exciting.”
World Land Trust supports conservation of the Caucasus Wildlife Refuge by supporting FPWC’s management and ongoing protection of the reserve through the Keepers of the Wild programme.
These Keepers of the Wild provide vital protection for large mammals such as the Bezoar Ibex, Brown Bear and Caucasian Leopard against poaching.