Last October, for the first time on record in Kazakhstan, one of the world’s rarest species, the Persian leopard (or Caucasian leopard), was spotted and photographed on the territory of the Ustyurt Nature Reserve.
A few days ago, new images of the leopard were taken. Locals named the Ustyurt leopard Tau Sheri, or Mountain Spirit in Kazakh.
On October 24, 2018 the experts reported that a trail camera had captured the leopard on the territory of the Ustyurt Nature Reserve. The leopard migrated to the Reserve’s lands from Turkmenistan.
This was the very first evidence of a live leopard (Panthera pardus ciscaucasica) on the territory of Kazakhstan. The previous cases registered in Kazakhstan, in Zhambyl region in 2000 and in Mangystau Region in 2015, unfortunately, resulted in the murder of the animals.
On November 6, 2018 one of the trail cameras captured the leopard again.
In February 2019, a few days ago, new data from the trail cameras were received which, to the great joy of everyone involved, confirmed that the leopard still lived on the Reserve’s land and, according to the experts, “looked very well”.
In February 2019, the Nature Reserve’s department of education announced the results of the children drawing contest dedicated to the Ustyurt leopard. The participants were also asked to come up with a name for the leopard. The jury unanimously chose Tau Sheri which translates as “Mountain Spirit” from Kazakh.
The article is based on the information released by Kazakhstan’s Association for Conservation of Biodiversity; Saken Dildakhmet, spokesperson for Kazakh Ministry of Agriculture’s Wildlife Committee; Mark Pestov, Ph.D candidate in Biology and a member of the project on protecting leopards; Zhaskairat Nurmukhambetov, associate director at the Ustyurt Nature Reserve.