Rare Amur leopard photos captured in NE China

Updated: 2012-05-14 21:37


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CHANGCHUN - Ten clear photos of the endangered Amur leopard were recently taken in a forest in northeast China's Jilin province, researchers said Monday.

Rare Amur leopard photos captured in NE China
The photo taken on April 4 shows an adult leopard resting on the hill of Changbai Mountain in Wangqing county, Yanbian Korean autonomous prefecture, northeast China's Jilin province.[Photo/Xinhua]

The photos, taken on April 4 on Changbai Mountain in Wangqing county, show an adult leopard resting and walking on the hill, said Sun Ge, a doctor at Peking University.

The county is located in the Yanbian Korean autonomous prefecture, which borders Russia and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).

Funded by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Sun worked with the Wangqing County Forestry Bureau (WCFB) to set up more than 100 automatic infrared cameras in the forest to capture images of animals.

According to the WWF, the Amur leopard has been photographed in the county's forests only two other times since 1949, with the first and second instances occurring on August 24 and September 19, 2011, respectively.

Sun said some WCFB employees claim to have spotted a leopard on April 28.

The WCFB and WWF have also found Amur leopard footprints, droppings and fur while conducting research activities in recent years, he said.

The Amur leopard, which mainly lives in Russia and China, is one of the world's most endangered large cats. The total number living in the wild is believed to be less than 50 worldwide, said Jiang Guangshun, a senior researcher for a tiger and leopard protection project under the WWF.

Jiang said the evidence has indicated that ecology and protection efforts have improved in northeast China.

China launched a natural forest resource conservation program in 1998, specifying 17 regions, including the Changbai Mountain Natural Reserve, as targets for ecosystem protection.

Increasing numbers of wild animals such as bears and boars have also been seen in forests near the China-Russia border, Jiang said.