Joint expedition monitors the area of leopard habitat

Members of scientific expeditions, which studied the areal of Asian leopard, one of four big predators, which remained in Central Asia and was entered to the Red Book of the IUCN and the Red Book of Turkmenistan, have covered more than 2,000 km.

Leading specialists of reserves of the country, inspectors of velayat natural protection departments as well as international experts including zoologist Tatyana Rozen, who has an experience of participation in the events for protection of snow leopard, together with the Royal Society for Protection of Birds took part in the monitoring organized by the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Protection.

The expedition had to explore the areas of habitat of the predator and ensure that the measure for protection of leopard support the protection of its population.National specialists have learnt innovative methods of monitoring of predator animals, specifics of photo traps, definition of the routes of migration of leopards, their favourite place where big number of claw scrubbing spots remains.

These are the places where photo cameras were installed.Such attention to the predator is quite understandable.Number of these unique animals is quite small in the world.

The population of leopards in Turkmenistan has significantly reduced by 1990s after the reduction of number of animals serving as food for predators like wild boar, argali and wild goat.

Real threat of breaking of the population into isolated groups and event total extinction, as it had happened with the population of Turkmen tiger, appeared.However, it happened that leopards are more flexible with anthropogenic impact.

For relatively short period, they adapted to the co-existence with human being.Their food ration has significantly changed and expanded.This outcome was made by the expert of the World Wildlife Fund in 2012 who made the summarization of the project “Protection of leopard in the Kopetdag”.

Specialists have confirmed that number of this big predator became growing mainly due to the efforts of personnel of national natural protection territories.For example, during the visit to Badhyz Reserve, the members of the expedition were able to observe the diversity of fauna in Eroylanduz, Kepele, howdan, Kyzyljar and Agarcheshme where the traces of predator were spotted.

New photo cameras have been installed on the territory of Kopetdag State Natural reserve in Sekizyab, Markow, Guryholtan.The expedition explred the places of leopard habitat in Big Balhan and installed monitoring stations.

Results of observations collected by the expedition confirmed the growth of the population of wild animals, which are the source of food for predators.Photo observation of leopards indicates that number of predators is restored in Kopetdag Mountains, Badhyz and other habitats of leopard in Turkmenistan.

The results of the studies will be used for preparation on national and regional strategy of activities for protection of the population of this rare animal.

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