To find evidence of the Persian leopard (Panthera pardus saxicolor), Bejan Lortkipanidze and his team set 30 camera traps in the northern part of the Greater Caucasus Mountain Range – a very remote area of Georgia near its boarder with Russia.
Although most cameras have been retrieved, five were stolen (presumably by poachers concerned about the evidence) and a few others were left in an area where leopard sightings were reported by villagers. Despite these set backs, the cameras recorded an ample population of leopard prey.
Commenting about the results of the survey so far, Bejan reported “we captured large mammal pictures, such as brown bear (Ursus arctos), lynx (Lynx lynx), wolf (Canis lupus), fox (Vulpes vulpes), wild goat (Capra aegagrus), Dagestan tur (Capra cylindricornis), chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra) and roe deer (Capreoulus capreolus). There are pictures of crane and eagles, too. Unfortunately, we have not caputred any leopard photos. Yet! But,cameras still operate in the study areas, and we still have chance to find the species.”
A survey team will be sent out in January to retrieve the photos and then again in early summer 2014. We look forward to the results.