12:40 GMT +3 hours29 November 2014
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Putin releases Sochi leopards’ “bride”

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Prime Minister Vladimir Putin released one of the two female leopards brought from Iran into an open-air cage in the Sochi National Park.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin released one of the two female leopards brought from Iran into an open-air cage in the Sochi National Park.

The representatives of the rare species will take part in a project to restore the leopards’ population in the North Caucasus.

Two males, General and Alous, are now living in the first specialized Persian Leopard Breeding and Rehabilitation Center, which is unique in Russia. The prime minister released them into the open-air cages of the Sochi National Park in September 2009, marking the end of the center’s construction. The park is part of the project to preserve the environment around the facilities built for the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi.

A member of the park’s staff told Vladimir Putin that the animals that are now being kept in separate cages will first get to know each other. First they will get used to and learn to understand each other through the net and bars of the cages. There are plans to create a “northern core” of the Persian leopard population within 10 to 15 years there. It will consist mainly of cubs that will be born in the cages.