Conservationists and scientists are hopeful after new census data has revealed that Amur leopards, the world's most endangered big cats, are making a comeback.
The census data, taken from Russia's Land of the Leopard National Park, reveals that the population in the park has nearly doubled since 2007. In addition, up to 12 Amur leopards were counted in adjacent areas of China.
This news validates the efforts of big cat conservation programs worldwide.
"Such a strong rebound in Amur leopard numbers is further proof that even the most critically endangered big cats can recover if we protect their habitat and work together on conservation efforts." said Director of the Species Protection and Asian Species Conservation Dr. Barney Long.
The Land of the Leopard National park, established in 2012, includes about 60 percent of the Amur's remaining habitat, including all known breeding grounds. It has become "the main organization force for leopard protection and research", according to WWF Russia Amur Branch head Yury Darman, who also serves as a member of the Supervisory Board of the Amur Leopards Center.