Amur Leopard 2 CC digitalART

At least 16 Amur leopard cubs have been spotted in a Russian nature preserve this spring — evidence of a strong recovery for a species that numbered only 30 left in the wild less than ten years ago.

Camera traps have photographed the new arrivals at the Land of the Leopard National Park as they play and hunt. Russia established the park in 2012 specifically to protect the critically endangered cats, and by last year, their numbers had doubled over their lowest point in 2007.

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16 cubs is triple the number that were reportedly born in the preserve just two years ago. At least eight female leopards have given birth this spring with the most prolific one producing triplets—the one that was nicknamed Queen Borte, after Genghis Khan’s very fertile first wife.

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In addition to creating the National Park, Russia has stiffened penalties against poachers and protects the species from angry farmers by providing insurance to any who may lose livestock to the big cats. Conservationists believe with the new births this spring, there are now more than 80 Amur leopards in the wild.

(WATCH the video below from The Mirror) — Photo: digitalART, CC

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