The Mirpuri Foundation is proud to present the photographic project “Through the Eyes of the Leopard”, a book that documents extraordinary expeditions to the Caucasus region.

Between 2017 and 2018, the Foundation funded three expeditions to photograph the last Caucasian habitat of the Persian Leopard, and the communities around, with the aim to sensitize the population towards the preservation of the area, the protection of its wildlife that is currently at risk, and also to enable the study of the possible ways of reintroducing the species in the area.

The result of this project was a photographic coverage of the pathways through the habitats and “corridors” in the Caucasus, with the highest probability of the existence of the Persian leopard (Panthera pardus tulliana). More than 9000 km were covered and the result is, probably, the widest area coverage in terms of different countries and territories in the Caucasus, for a single Photo Project.

The Mirpuri Foundation is an honored sponsor of this amazing book that presents for the first time to the public some of the most beautiful photos made by Rui Bernardino during these expeditions into the Caucasus Ecoregion, where he was joined by his colleague José Dias Ferreira, under a partnership between the Mirpuri Foundation and the Lisbon Zoo. Each and every photo is a privileged window into that remote region of the globe, where not long ago the majestic Persian Leopard abounded.

“We wish to live in a world where the Persian Leopard is once again sustainably living in its natural habitat and to be able to show our children’s children and all future generations the beauty of this species”, says Paulo Mirpuri, President of the Mirpuri Foundation.

Rui Bernardino, the author of the book, adds: “Being able to go through the pages and relive the last Leopard routes leaves us perplexed by the diversity, beauty and adversity of life in these mountains. Having witnessed this atmosphere was a very strong experience.”

The partnership with the Lisbon Zoo started in 2017, through the financing and sponsorship of the expeditions to the Caucasus Ecoregion, with the aim of documenting the Persian Leopards habitat, while also gaining knowledge of the in situ situation of this Ecoregion; recognized as one of the richest in the world in terms of biodiversity and cultural diversity. The expeditions were carried out with the local collaboration of WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature) as this is considered an ecoregion of implementation of their conservation plans.

Several immersive exhibitions will take place around the globe, using photos, videos and sounds collected during these expeditions, in an effort to draw attention to the plight for survival of the species, the natural beauty of the landscape, the richness of its fauna and flora and the cultural heritage of the region. A complementary children’s book also sponsored by the Mirpuri Foundation will be distributed among local communities throughout the Caucasus.

The Mirpuri Foundation is also supporting efforts in terms of enhancing the breeding success of the species, once the diverse genetic background of these animals under the breeding programmes are essential for sustainable populations and their reintroduction in natural environments.

In the photo: Rui Bernardino, Author of “Through the Eyes of the Leopard” and Paulo Mirpuri, President of the Mirpuri Foundation.