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Video shows frightened leopard cub fleeing raging wildfires in eastern Russia

By The Siberian Times reporter
30 March 2020

Kitten is one of the world’s rarest big cats, with only 91 known adults surviving in the wild.

This footage is unique and it highlights the acute danger to wildlife from seasonal fires. Picture: Land of the Leopard

The little three-month-old cub runs from the approaching smoke and flames on the edge of the Land of the Leopard National Park in Primorsky region.

The animal fortunately successfully fled the flames with its mother who was not caught on camera. 

Rangers verified the pair are now safe. 

This footage is unique and it highlights the acute danger to wildlife from seasonal fires - in this case manmade -  even in a park set up to provide a safe haven for the Amur leopards, which are recovering from getting as close to extinction as any species can. 

Leopard kitten escaped fire


Leopard kitten escaped fire


Wildfire


Wildfire

‘The time between the pictures of the cub and approaching fire is less than an hour.' Pictures: Land of the Leopard 

The fleeing cat was caught on a time-lapse video filmed by a camera trap. 

Victor Bardyuk, director of the Land of the Leopard, said: 'These alarming shots had a huge impact on us all.

'They clearly show the situation with fires in the south-west of Primorsky region. 

'They show how real and terrible is the threat to rare animals that are defenceless in the face of this destructive element in their habitat. 

'And the blame had this leopard died would fall on humans.'

GV of a wildfire in the Land of Leopard


Employees of the Land of Leopard extinguishing the fire

Employees of the Land of the Leopard extinguish major wildfire in November 2019. Piuctures: Maria Vasilieva

This was an agricultural fire: farmers at this time of year illegally burn dry grass after the winter to clear their fields.

Such fires are banned because with gushing winds they soon get out of control, which is what happened here. 

‘The absolute majority of wildfires are the fault of humans,’ said Bardyuk.

In this case the fire was extinguished preventing its spread in the park’s territory. 

'These alarming shots had a huge impact on us all.' Video: Land of the Leopard

The park’s spokesman Ivan Rakov told The Siberian Times: ‘The mother is definitely safe…

‘She went on another trail away from the fire, close to the cub, but was not spotted by camera traps…

‘The kitten itself does not look exhausted, which means there are no problems with food. 

‘The time between the pictures of the cub and approaching fire is less than an hour. 

Wildfire in Khakassia


Wildfire in Khakassia

Locals extinguish strong wildfire in Khakassia last weekend. Pictures: Vk.com

‘Of course, leopards notice in advance such threats as fire and people and leave.

‘Luckily the fire was extinguished in time, the flame did not penetrate inside the territory of the national park, which means that the habitat of this cub was saved. 

‘We believe that mother and cub permanently live in the territory of the national park.’

The park is a haven for the endangered Amur leopards and almost as rare Siberian tigers, as well as brown and black bears.

They are protected from poachers who threatened the very existence of these big cat species. 

Fox suffocated

Disturbing picture from Sokhondinsky State Nature Reserve in the TransBaikal region show the real threat to the wildlife. Picture: Sokhondinsky State Nature Reserve

Earlier a fox was suffocated by a similar wildfire at Sokhondinsky State Nature Reserve in the TransBaikal region of Siberia.

Extensive damage to the reserve was caused by this fire. 

Strong wildfires raged in Krasnoyarsk region covering 700,000 square metres and Khakassia over 40 million square metres, have been reported. 

Due to a snowless winter in many regions of Siberia and the Russian Far East there are warnings that wildfires will start earlier this year and be more damaging.

Comments (2)

Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful heart warming survival story Siberian Times...

It's a breath of fresh air in the midst of all the global destruction and disasters namely the Australian fires destroying half the Koala population, New Years Eve fireworks burning down an entire primate enclosure in the Krefelder Zoo Germany then the Coronavid 19 Virus spreading like wild fire.

I was beginning to wonder what more disaster can strike our beautiful, yet fragile environment. Then this gorgeous tiny Amur leopard cub miracle appeared in the midst of all the chaos...

Thank you so much Victor Bardyuk, all your staff and fire fighters at the Land of the Leopard for all your dedication, courage and perseverance in preserving these majestic yet endangered creatures. Bless you all and keep safe.
Anonymous, Switzerland
01/04/2020 02:21
6
0
Cute fluffy healthy cub! Thanks to take care of them....Fires are plagues nowadays..
Jocelyne, FRANCE confinée !
31/03/2020 19:20
5
0
1

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