Three leopards, an animal rarely seen in the wild in Vietnam, were spotted in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong, local forest officials said Wednesday.
The animals reportedly appeared on December 18 at a village in Da Huoai District, and forest rangers later found their pugmarks.
Locals who saw the animals told the rangers that two of them were around 80 centimeters tall, and the third was smaller at some 30 cm.
Shown photos of leopards, the witnesses confirmed they were indeed the creatures they saw, according to the Lam Dong forest rangers division.
Placed in Vietnam's red list, leopards are said to be distributed across the country's mountainous areas like the northern province of Lai Chau and Bac Kan and the central provinces of Quang Tri and Lam Dong.
But due to poaching and habitat loss, their population is very "small," according to the website vncreatures, which is run by a group of local experts.
Internationally, the species is categorized as "near threatened" by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
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