Russia is Trying to Bring Back a Leopard Species It Last Saw 100 Years Ago

Officials hope a leopard colony will again take root in the southeastern corner of Europe

Persian Leopard
Natural Resources and Ecology Ministry of Russia

The endangered Persian leopard is being reintroduced to Sochi, Russia, nearly a century after they were hunted to the brink of extinction, NBC News reported.

Today, there are fewer than 400 Persian leopards in the wild, with the only sustainable wild populations in Iran and Turkmenistan.

The Persian Leopard Breeding and Rehabilitation Center in Sochi, created in 2012, has helped the population make a modest recovery in recent years. The project is bankrolled by the Russian government.

Conservationists will release two 3-year-old animals within the next few weeks, followed by another pair later this year. Officials hope a leopard colony will again take root in the southeastern corner of Europe and spread eastward. But vital migration routes the animal needs to thrive are under threat from expanding ski resorts.

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