Today, a female Amur leopard named Acra, one of the rarest of the wild cats, will take up permanent residence at the Moscow Zoo.
Acra was born 18 months ago at the Tallinn Zoo in Estonia. Acron Group became a guardian of this member of the species included in the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and the Red List of Russia. Based on results of a contest held at the Group’s production facilities, the little female leopard was named Acra, meaning a “pinnacle”, a “top” in Greek.
As Acra’s guardian, in the spring of 2012, Acron Group requested the international organisation on species allocation that the leopard be transferred to the Moscow Zoo. Official approval was granted following a review of the Zoo’s population.
Amur leopards are critically endangered. In February 2013, track-based monitoring showed that 49 leopards currently live in the southwest section of Primorsky Krai, concentrated in the Khasansky and Nadezhdinsky districts. Approximately one hundred Amur leopards live in zoos around the world.
In 2012, the Leopard’s Land National Park was created in Primorsky Krai on an initiative by Russian President Vladimir Putin to preserve the population of Amur leopards. The 2,600 km2 park comprises Kedrovaya Pad State Biosphere Nature Reserve, the Leopard National Wildlife Refuge and a frontier zone. The National Park was established as part of the State Programme for the Study, Conservation and Recovery of Far Eastern (Amur) Leopard. Representatives of the World Wildlife Fund called the decision to establish the Leopard’s Land National Park a significant step toward saving one of the most critically endangered wild animal species on earth.
Today, there are more Amur leopards live in zoos than in the wild. The Moscow Zoo is home to several Amur leopards. It is difficult to breed the leopards in an artificially recreated environment because the cats can be picky about their partners, which have to be brought in from other zoos. Acra’s arrival at the Moscow Zoo will hopefully lead to new offspring and increase the global zoo population of Amur leopards.