The Ultra-Rare Caucasian Leopard in Armenia’s Caucasus

Spot the Ultra-Rare Caucasian Leopard in Armenia’s Caucasus Wildlife Refuge

 Impressive local fauna is thriving again in Southern Armenia’s new Caucasus Wildlife Refuge

By Laura Kiniry 0010

About four years ago, a remote camera in Armenia’s Caucasus Wildlife Refuge caught the tail of a Caucasian leopard. Also known as a Persian leopard or a Central Asian leopard, the animal dates back millennia in Armenia’s history and iconography, but hadn’t been see in the area in years. Images of the leapard have been found in ancient petroglyphs atop southern Armenia’s Mount Ughtasar, and on historic artifacts, such as drinking vessels, that date back to at least the Bronze Age. Today, Caucasian leopards are the world’s largest leopard subspecies in size, and second only to brown bears as the region’s largest predator. They are also at severe risk of extinction. Anatolian leopards, a kind of Caucasian leopard native to southwestern Turkey, went extinct in the 1970s, and now there are less than 1,300 Caucasian leopards left in the wild, with a dozen or so known to reside in Armenia…