The 10-year anniversary of Armenia’s Caucasus Wildlife Refuge (CWR) was made even more special when a Caucasian Leopard, thought to be a female, was spotted in the reserve that very same night – a symbol that this protected land remains a safe place for the Endangered big cat subspecies.
With fewer than 15 Caucasian Leopards thought to be living in Armenia, sightings of these cats are rare but incredibly important. They are a sign that the conservation action of World Land Trust (WLT) partner Foundation for the Preservation of Wildlife and Cultural Assets (FPWC) is making a difference, by providing a better future for Armenia’s incredible wildlife.
The leopard, named Nova, was first seen via camera trap footage in Autumn last year. FPWC were able to identify that it was a new leopard due to its unique coat pattern. After a year of monitoring, the team were delighted to see Nova back in the CWR in September 2021 – watch the latest video below to see for yourself!
FPWC began tracking Caucasian Leopards in 2013 and have since recorded five different individuals within the CWR. Nova – a potential female – was first spotted in 2020, in the same area and during the same month as a male leopard – causing a stir among the team who are hoping this could be a chance for populations to start bouncing back.
Only time will tell if cubs are on the horizon, but for now, FPWC continues to work hard to protect the 65,000 acres (26,300 ha) of CWR – a wildlife haven in a region that is one of the world’s lesser-known biodiversity hotspots.
Supporters of WLT’s Action Fund allow FPWC to lease CWR land from local communities. By providing this source of income, FPWC maintain a good relationship with the people of the Caucasus and ensure the safe management of their protected area.
The return of Nova offers hope for the revival of an iconic big cat.
This is a story made possible by FPWC’s expert management of their wildlife refuge, a feat made all the more impressive considering the struggles of last year, when Armenia was hit by both war and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Whatever challenges our partners around the world may be facing, you can choose to make a tangible impact by donating to support their valuable conservation work.
There is much yet that you can do for Armenia’s <15 Caucasian Leopards – donate to our Action Fund to ensure their home remains safe!