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The world’s rarest big cat is filmed in stunning video in Far East of Russia

By The Siberian Times reporter
27 December 2019

Congratulations to South Korean photographer Choi Kisoon for getting unique footage.

To get this footage, South Korean wildlife photographer Choi Kisoon spent five days hidden inside a small hut at the reserve’s territory. Picture: Choi Kisoon 

This must be the best natural habitat video ever taken of the Far Eastern leopard, one of less than a 100 cats living in the wild. 

A grown-up male Leo12M aka Typhoon was filmed from the world’s only specially designed place for observing Amur leopards at the Land of the Leopard Nature Reserve.

To get this footage, South Korean wildlife photographer Choi Kisoon spent five days hidden inside a small hut at the reserve’s territory. 

He was lucky to see the majestic animal from as close as seven metres away.  

The world’s rarest big cat is filmed in stunning video in Far East of Russia


The world’s rarest big cat is filmed in stunning video in Far East of Russia


The world’s rarest big cat is filmed in stunning video in Far East of Russia


The world’s rarest big cat is filmed in stunning video in Far East of Russia
Leo12M aka Typhoon. Pictures: Choi Kisoon


Leo12M is one of the oldest male Amur leopards inhabiting the protected area west of Vladivostok. 

He is seen slowly walking around the hut, and resting close to it - almost invisible to a human eye with its spots blending into the mixtures of bushes and dry leaves - after having a sumptuous meal. The adult male looks relaxed yet cautious, looking back into the camera as if sensing human presence.

‘There were a lot of Amur leopards in Korea in the past, but they have all gone with time. We have a chance to observe them now thanks to Russia’s effort to protect the endangered species’, said the photographer. 

‘I was very impressed by its looks and by how extremely cautious it was when approaching the hut. A leopard is a sensitive predator, measuring its every step with great care and prepared to retreat at any moment’, Kisoon Choi added.

The world’s rarest big cat is filmed in stunning video in Far East of Russia


The world’s rarest big cat is filmed in stunning video in Far East of Russia


The world’s rarest big cat is filmed in stunning video in Far East of Russia
The world’s rarest big cat is filmed in stunning video in Far East of Russia. Pictures: Choi Kisoon


Currently there are 86 grown up cats and 21 cubs and adolescents living in the wild, according to the Land of the Leopard latest photo trap monitoring data. 

The endangered animals’ habitat are two small areas in the south-east of Primorsky region of Russia, and a territory in China close to the border with Russia. 

While the number of Amur leopard is small, it is far larger than two decades ago, and the species is seen as slowly recovering. 

Land of the Leopard reserve’s team is pleased with the result of the first run of the hut they built for wildlife photographers. 

‘Watching wild free-roaming predator is nothing like being in a zoo with caged animals, and comes with a certain number of issues.

'We did a lot of work to simplify the process, and to enlarge a kind of a ‘key hole’ which allows to observe the world’s rarest leopard without disturbing it,’ said reserve's director Victor Bardyuk.

The core population of Amur Leopards is under protection of the Land of the Leopard Nature Reserve, established in 2012 by the Russian government to save the endangered species from extinction.  

Around a century ago, these leopards populated all of the Korean peninsula and two provinces of China. 

READ MORE about photographer Choi Kisoon’s adventures in Russia  

WATCH LEO 12M AKA TYPHOON, FILMED BY CHOI KISOON



Comments (17)

Thank you for this exquisite moment filmed in my heart and soul forever...I thought that a wolf's golden eyes staring into my soul under my terrace where I reside, as a real life experience in 2018 was truly unique. These incredibly majestic eyes staring into my soul through your lenses Choi kisoon is another once in a life time unique experience.

These majestic creatures are all ancient souls and their eyes speak to us if we can understand their language.

Thank you Choi Kisoon for these amazing captions of unique precious moments in time... Thank you Russia and the Land of the Leopard Nature Reserve for being world leaders in wildlife conservation.

As Mahatma Gandhi once stated " The greatness of a nation and it's moral progress can be judged by the way it's animals are treated". And you are great...
Anonymous, Switzerland
07/01/2020 02:41
7
0
His spotted face is fascinating ,,..V..,, Typhoon.. "est magnifique !"
Jocelyne, FRANCE
05/01/2020 00:58
6
0
As a supporter of Big Cat Rescue in Tampa FL, we welcomed Manny(Jaguar) and Natalia (Amur leopard) from an AZA accredited zoo that was trying to re-home these 2 magnificent creatures..all cats at BCR are treated respectfully and with love..have seen Natalia in person and she is indeed a magnificent creatures..BCR aims to educate and end the trade..cats here are rescued from the entertainment industry, fur trade, orphaned or relinquished by owners..the only way to shoot such creatures, is with a camera and not disturbing them
Donna Vaughan, Tampa FL, United States
03/01/2020 17:36
5
0
Keep up the outstanding work......and sharing. Awareness and education is the key to saving the Big Cat, all big cats.
James H. Mundy IV, United States
03/01/2020 05:14
9
0
Gorgeous cat
Andra Marie Mueller, Los Angeles, CA, USA
01/01/2020 10:36
4
0
Any plans to reintroduce cats to Korea?
Tim Street, United States
30/12/2019 20:54
11
0
What a beautiful cat very majestic.
Carolyn Wilt, United States
30/12/2019 04:15
5
0
Thanks to Russia, Land of the Leopard Nature Reserve, Choi Kasoon, and all others working to preserve this magnificent species. When an animal becomes extinct we all lose.
Kathryn , Canada
30/12/2019 01:23
10
0
Beautiful photos, nature has many secrets
Andrew, Poland
29/12/2019 19:14
5
0
Incredible images! What a stunning animal he is. Thanks for sharing with us!
Lissa, Canada
29/12/2019 12:44
5
0
This footage is an amazing treasure that allows us to see such an exquisitely beautiful animal in its native habitat. I congratulate Mr. Choi Kissoon for his diligence and expertise in capturing this footage. It is near miraculous for many of us to see such a rare creature as the Amur Leopard. My thanks also go to the Land of the Leopard Reserve and to Russia. Thank you to the fabulous team of researchers working to save this species.
Judy Cain, Norman, Oklahoma USA
29/12/2019 12:28
10
0
The Amur leopards and Amur tigers too are being preserved in Russia. I can only say thank you for saving a species that is so magnificent and would not fare so well in my country if they were here.
Marlene Beyer, Williston ND/US
29/12/2019 11:16
5
0
Magnificent. Our measure of wisdom will be how quickly we can restore Nature before we destroy Civilization.
Panayoti Kelaidis, Denver/Colorado
29/12/2019 04:31
4
0
Wonderful photograp amazing camouflage
Diana Thomas, Hassocks UK
29/12/2019 01:13
4
0
Congratulations on some incredible pics and. Video. Truely a lovely animal.
Diane Taylor, South Africa
28/12/2019 22:29
6
0
12

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