Can Vladimir Putin save the Persian Leopard?

Final designBy Brett Favaro

Vladimir Putin is a busy man. He pilots submarines, hunts and fishes, and even drives racecars in his spare time.

But one thing that’s truly special is Putin’s relationship with animals. He loves animals. Really loves them.

Presumably that’s why right before the start of the Olympics, Putin made a public declaration about his plans for the endangered Persian leopard.

“We decided to restore the population of the Persian leopard because of the Olympic Games.” he declared, after cuddling with the imperiled creatures.

Does this mean that the Persian leopard can breathe easy? It’s hard to say. Bill Donahue, writing for Salon, recently uncovered that while the $3 million breeding facility for these animals is producing cubs, and Putin himself has set up conservation areas in the region, the surrounding wilderness is under heavy disruption and development. As with any terrestrial species, habitat is key – no habitat, no recovery.

Still, from a conservation standpoint, it can’t hurt to have your country’s leader personally invested in your recovery and research program.

So, Prime Minister Harper, if you’re reading this, consider this an open invitation to join me in the field or lab at your convenience. There’s lots of work to be done here in Canada, and we need all the help we can get – especially if the help could come from the very top.

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