An extremely rare and critically endangered wild cat has been caught on camera luxuriating in its glorious surroundings at the Land of the Leopard National Park in Russia’s Far East.
The Amur leopard, known as a powerful but solitary predator, can live for 10-15 years in the wild, but its numbers have dwindled due to poaching and a declining habitat. The park was set up to help protect the beautiful spotted cat and bring it back from the brink of extinction.
The big cat caught on camera looks like an older feline, according to experts at the park. “Despite his old age, the male leopard showed excellent health and a playful Friday mood,” the park service said of the extraordinary footage. “In front of the camera, the predator played like a domestic kitten.”
The wildcat’s playfulness triggered one of the park’s 400 camera traps, put in place to help monitor the animals’ health and behavior. The leopard can claim bursts of speeds of up to 37 miles per hour.
Only about 120 are currently thought to live in the wild in eastern Russia, but the species has been showing something of a comeback, according to cat census figures from the park.
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