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One of only 80 endangered Siberian leopards living in the wild is hit by a car and killed

By The Siberian Times reporter
26 October 2015

The male big cat's death is 'extremely dangerous' for the species, warns an expert.

Amur leopard Meamur was killed by car last Saturday. Picture: Land of Leopard


Eight years old, the leopard had distinctive spots and was often filmed as an example of the beauty of a big cat species literally fighting for survival. The animal was hit by a Nissan on Saturday on a road linking the villages of Razdolnoye and Hasan, inside the Land of the Leopard National Park, set up to give protection to the Red Book creatures. 

The driver said he was unable to avoid the leopard - named Meamur - as the animal jumped in front of him. The leopard was killed almost immediately. 

Elena Salmanova, deputy director of the Land of the Leopard in the Russian Far East, said: 'Despite the fact that the leopard population is growing, and we announced that there are about 80 individuals in the wild already, this number is still extremely low, and the loss of even one individual is extremely dangerous for the population.'



The driver said he was unable to avoid the leopard as the animal jumped in front of him. The leopard was killed almost immediately. Pictures: Land of Leopard

A brother of the famous Far Eastern leopard Lord, the name for whom was given by the whole Russia, the killed leopard was an adult male of about eight years old. Meamur frequently appeared at the footage of Land of Leopard, as well as on the pictures of professional photographers. A large part of documentary 'Land of Leopard' is devoted to the life of this particular predator.

The name Meamur was given to the leo by renown Russian music band 'Mumiy Troll', initially based in Vladivostok. The leader of the band Ilya Lagutenko said Meamur 'was a part of our family - beautiful, wild and free, he was what everyone wants to be in their heart. This tragedy once again raises the question about how humans and wildlife get along.'



Meamur frequently appeared at the footage of Land of Leopard, as well as on the pictures of professional photographers. Pictures: Land of Leopard, Gennady Yusin

Anna Vitkalova, head of the park's science department, said: 'When we received the sad news, our first thought was that the dead leopard must have been a young inexperienced animal that was still not in our database. But the pattern on the skin looked familiar. Looking at the spots pattern confirmed that it was leopard Leo 11M (Meamur), which was recorded by our cameras many times.'

The results of a 'census' of Amur - or Siberian - leopards earlier this year showed their numbers to be around 80,  a significant rise which follows efforts by both Russia and China to protect the species and avoid extinction. The figure is double what many had suspected. 

The Russian leopard is the rarest large cat on the planet. Its population in Russia was as low as 30 animals in the early 2000s. 

Comments (4)

Oh, this is so horrible. I'm really sorry to those who are working to protect them.
Katie Featherstone @featherytravels, England
28/10/2015 16:07
This is heartbreaking to see. It is very very sad incident. Meamur we miss you. Its our responsibility to protect all endangered species. Please be alert while driving through wildlife areas.
28/10/2015 13:19
I am heartbroken to see this. My eyes fill with tears. Just not evil poachers, but now cars. I almost can't stand it. Please car drivers stay aware and drive slowly and care.
We HAVE to especially STOP poachers, no matter how. Something has to be done!! We are losing our elephants, too. Beyond sad.
B. Davis, Salem/USA
28/10/2015 03:24
Oh no !!!!!!! Meamur is so beautiful, we show him with Berry in a vidéo. Very SAD . Please drive very SLOWY AND CARREFUL in this region with Amur Leopard and Tiger , they are so rares !
Jocelyne, FRANCE
26/10/2015 20:44

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