Persian leopard has been discovered in Ustyurt Nature Reserve

Little reliable information exists about encounters with leopards in Kazakhstan in recent decades. In fact, the leopard is not even listed on the country’s fauna list.

The discovery came entirely by accident during a project by the Rufford Foundation involving supplementary feeding of vultures, which is currently being repeated in the Ustyurt Nature Reserve. Zhaskairat Nurmukhambetov coordinates the project and serves as Deputy Director of Science for the Nature Reserve. Reserve workers regularly place meat as bait in three different locations equipped with camera traps. As it turns out, the traps do not just attract vultures, but also many four-legged inhabitants of the Reserve: predators including wolves, foxes, steppe cats, caracals as well as local ungulates Ustyurt sheep, gazelles.

The CADI project supports Ustyurt Nature Reserve improving its management. To find out more about the state of the leopard, project partner ACBK has now set off on an expedition to the region.