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There are only a few dozen Amur leopards living wild in Russia. (file photo)
An extensive video recording of the elusive Amur leopard has been released this month.

The WWF wildlife preservation organization says the footage provides "vital information" on how the highly endangered cat raises cubs in the wild.

The video was filmed by 10 hidden camera traps in November and December in Russia's Far East as part of a joint project by Land of the Leopard National Park and WWF.

The 78 hours of video material shows how a female Amur leopard, named Kedrovka, feeds her three cubs with a sika deer, trains them, and resolves their disputes.

The footage captures the leopard cubs approaching the deer in turns, with the strongest eating first and the weakest last. Scientists had previously believed that leopards from one "family" ate prey together.

"In the video, we can see how the mother urges the weakest [cub] to eat after the other two have abandoned the prey," says Vasily Solkin, from the WWF-Russia Amur branch, who compiled the footage. "But it is not as fussy as most human mothers, when the weakest [cub] starts to limp on one paw and whines about it, the mother just ignores it."

WATCH: Footage Of An Amur Leopard And Her Cubs


WWF said it is important to know how leopards are raised and taught hunting skills in the wild to make sure that planned programs to introduce new leopards into their natural habitat using breeding pairs from zoos are successful.

A 2013 census showed that up to 50 Amur leopards remain in the wild in Far Eastern Russia.

Habitat destruction by logging, forest fires, and land conversion for farming purposes contributed to the disappearance of some 80 percent of the species' former range between 1970 and 1983.

The big cat has also been hit hard by the poaching of ungulates, which is its main prey.

-- Antoine Blua
The results of an official survey about the upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi were not exactly a ringing endorsement of the Games.
"Other" wins an online poll asking respondents how much they are looking forward to next month's Winter Olympics in Sochi. RFE/RL's Glenn Kates has more.

In early January, RFE/RL reported on an official Sochi Olympics website poll that essentially asked, "will these games be 'great, or the greatest?'"

The question posed was: "Are you looking forward to the Olympic games?" "No" was not among the possible answers. In fact, the only possible response other than a wholehearted "yes" was "other."

We can now report that with 17,906 votes counted, the results are in.

"Other" wins -- earning an impressive 69 percent of the vote.

Below is a breakdown of the results of the poll:

"Are you looking forward to the Olympic Games?"

7.07 percent -- Yes, I've been waiting since the victory in Guatemala [where Sochi won the right to host the Games in 2007]! I can't believe there is so little time left!

12.99 percent -- I'm really looking forward to them! The Games are a great event, not only for our country, but for the whole world!

9.37 percent -- I'm looking forward to them, because I enjoy sport and follow every Olympics

8.94 percent -- I'm looking forward to them, because I hope for great results from our athletes!

69.24 percent -- Other

Respondents were not provided with the opportunity to add commentary to their votes, so one can only guess as to what those voting "other" had in mind.

-- Glenn Kates

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About This Blog

Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at transmission+rferl.org

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