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Sunday, April 17, 2011

Leopard that for centuries symbolized Georgia could be found again... searching an animal believed to be extinct

Georgia’s Vashlovani National Park, not far from the border with Azerbaijan, is a paradise for wildlife. In recent years, it has sheltered an Asian leopard, an animal believed to be extinct in Georgia since the 1950s.
Scientists registered Vashlovani’s lonely leopard in 2004 and gave him the symbolic name of Noah. For almost five years, remote sensory cameras regularly recorded Noah’s movements in the park’s over-250 square kilometers of arid savanna.
Then, in 2009, he vanished.
The reason for the disappearance – whether old age, disease, or poachers claimed his life, or whether he moved on scavenging for food – remains a mystery, but biologists maintain that Noah’s tenure at the national park raises hopes that environmental conditions still exist to support an animal that for centuries symbolized Georgia itself.

Editor's Note: 
 Photos of leopard, boar, rabbit and bear were taken by remote sensor cameras and provided by NACRES. All other photos by Temo Bardzimashvili, who is a freelance photojournalist based in Tbilisi.