Russia Built a Huge Tunnel to Save a Near-Extinct Group of Leopards - Atlas Obscura
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Russia Built a Huge Tunnel to Save a Near-Extinct Group of Leopards

In the far eastern part of the country.

An Amur leopard. (Photo: William Warby/CC BY 2.0)

Amur leopards are among the world’s most endangered species, with only around 70 known to still exist. Around 56 of those are in a national park in Russia, known as Land of the Leopard.

Until recently, Land of the Leopard had a major highway running through it, problematic for the leopards, who probably can’t be expected to look both ways when crossing. 

Of particular concern to officials were known migration routes that crossed over the highway, which connects Russian harbors with China in the far eastern Primorsky Krai province.

 

Russia’s solution? A 1,900-foot tunnel, built underneath the migration routes, according to RT. The tunnel opened in March. 

Sergey Ivanov, a Kremlin official, told the state-controlled TASS news agency that the rare leopards’ numbers have been growing, with leopards even starting to roam outside of the park’s boundaries. 

Ivanov was also proud of the tunnel, saying that it had been a long time in the making. The tunnel, he added, would also make the highway safer for drivers, using a curious metaphor in the process. 

“We have killed two birds with one stone,” Ivanov told TASS