The Big Cat Sanctuary is delighted to announce that on Friday 27th January, we welcomed a familiar face back to the Sanctuary. It’s Argun, an Amur leopard who left the Sanctuary in 2013. He has spent the last ten years at Rutland Falconry and Owl Centre, but we are very proud that it is hopefully Argun’s time to play his part in supporting the conservation strategy for his species as the world’s most endangered big cat.
During his stay with us, he will be carefully monitored and prepared in every way possible for his next chapter. Argun has been given the recommendation to breed as his DNA would be a valuable contribution to the gene pool. Diversity of these genetics in crucial to the ex-situ co-ordinated breeding programme and a ranking process is in place to ensure the right individuals are identified for breeding.
At a later date, once the vets and team are confident Argun is fully prepared he will hopefully be relocated to another facility to join a breeding partner.
Some of our long-time supporters may well recognise this handsome boy, as he is the son of Xizi and Artur, the first litter of Amur leopards born here at the Sanctuary. Xizi gave birth to tow male cubs, Argun and Anuy who were born at the Sanctuary on 12th October 2008.
Xizi is still with us here at the Sanctuary and we are wondering if she might recognise her son. Argun’s father, Artur, sadly passed away in 2021, but there is no mistaking those features, he has a strikingly strong resemblance to his dad.
Argun as a cub
Argun as a cub
Artur, Argun’s Father
As we would expect, he is taking his time to settle in and has spent his time getting used to his enclosure! He appears surprisingly confident in the short time he has been here, and we are confident he’ll be comfortable in his new surroundings very quickly. He has already been greeting our keepers and getting reward treats to help ease the transition and encourage him to be brave.
The plan is that Argun will remain with us for a few months so you will get to see this stunning boy at one of our events during the year or even at our Annual Open Days in July.
On Sunday we will be releasing a “Behind the Sanctuary” which shows Argun’s move in full. You’ll be able to watch on YouTube at 3pm.