Russia took a big step Tuesday to try to save the Amur leopard, the world's most endangered cat, with just 40 believed left in the wild.
The country is establishing a new national park in Russia's Far East that encompasses about 60% of the endangered cat's habitat and all of its breeding areas, according to a statement from the World Wildlife Fund announcing the park. The organization has been pushing for establishment of the Land of the Leopard National Park since 2001.
“Amur leopards are literally teetering on the brink of extinction,” Sybille Klenzendorf, head of the WWF’s species program, said in a statement. “With the establishment of Land of the Leopard National Park, in conjunction with other conservation efforts, we can now start to focus on how to begin bringing them back.”
The cats are also known as the Far East leopard, the Manchurian leopard or the Korean leopard. They live in the temperate forests in Russia's Far East between Vladivostok and the border with China and endure extreme winters with the help of pelts that triple in length during the cold months, according to the WWF's website on the leopards.
The leopards have a life span of 10 to 15 years in the wild. Large males can weigh up to 165 pounds, with the average male topping out at about 100 pounds. Females are about 95 pounds at their largest, according to the WWF.
The 650,000-acre park will include sites for ecotourism as well as protected areas, according to the WWF statement. The Russian government is spending about $16.6 million for its development.
Ten Amur, or Siberian, tigers, also an endangered species, are also believed to live in the park, according to the WWF. The tiger species also once numbered about 40 individuals in the wild, but the population has recovered to 450 individuals today with preservation efforts, giving hope to the leopard plans, according to the WWF.
A leopard whose urban-area attack led to the death of one man and injuries to two others was released in an Indian nature reserve on Monday, two days after the incident.
Officials from the Assam State Zoo in Guwanhati, where the attacks occurred, set the cat free in in a tiger reserve in Manas, according to an Agence-France Presse report in the Hindustan Times.
Three men were attacked on Saturday when the cat wandered in to a residential area of Guwanhati, a city of almost 1 million people in northeast India.
[Updated 3:31 p.m. ET] A grey wolf and a monkey were still on the loose 19 hours after authorities began hunting down animals released from a farm outside Zanesville, Ohio, a local sheriff told reporters Wednesday.
"We have 48 animals that are dead and those were animals that were released or got out of dens," said Muskingum County Sheriff Matt Lutz. Authorities were able to save six animals, which are being transported to the Columbus zoo, he said.
The animals were among 56 exotic animals released Tuesday from Terry Thompson's farm outside Zanesville.
Thompson, 62, was found dead and authorities were waiting on the results of an autopsy, Lutz said. But he added that preliminary investigations indicated Thompson released his animals and then died from a self-inflicted wound. He had pried open cages and left the farm's fences open.
Animals that had to be put down around the owner's 78-area property in eastern Ohio include 18 tigers, nine lions, six black bears, three mountain lions and two baboons, Lutz said.
Flashing signs on the highways in eastern Ohio warned motorists Wednesday: "Caution. Exotic animals."
Schools shuttered and some frightened residents said they were keeping to their homes as sheriff's deputies hunted lions, tigers, leopards and grizzly bears that escaped from a preserve after the death of the owner.
Lutz said his deputies, who found themselves in a volatile situation, had to shoot some of the animals at close range. A Bengal tiger was put down after it got agitated from a tranquilizer shot.
"We are not talking about your normal everyday house cat or dog," Lutz said. "These are 300-pound Bengal tigers that we have had to put down. "When we got here, obviously, public safety was my number one concern. We could not have animals running loose in this county."See CNN's latest coverage
Officers shot and killed a leopard after it strayed into a village and attacked six people in West Bengal, India, according to media reports.
The leopard attacked a woman and two men, The Australian reported.
People in the densely populated slum village of Prakash Nagar climbed onto rooftops as forestry officers pursued the big cat and vice versa, Sky News reported. Several attempts to tranquilize it failed.
Things seemed to calm down after the leopard sought refuge in bushes, but it leaped out at three officers, Sky News reported. An officer finally wounded the animal, and it later died at a veterinary clinic.
One forestry officer was reported critically injured.