We made a release plan, time line and found people who are willing to help us with this program and the plan is to release Dimas within 2-3 months from now. We started with the collection of data via internet and local contacts and we found 10 potential release sites which are assessed on 9 different criteria concerning available prey species, distances to villages, percentage forest cover and total area. After we collected more data about these 10 potential release sites, the 3 best potential release sites will be selected for a field survey (habitat assessment) with a number of camera traps to make an inventory of the wildlife present, mostly focusing on the number of leopards present and available prey species. After that one release site and one back-up release site will be selected and the education-awareness program for the local people will be started there. For releasing we are planning to do a semi soft release method in which the leopard stays 2-5 days in a habituation cage in the release area before release. For monitoring we are planning to start with 3 months monitoring with help of the GPS signals of a collar, followed with 3 months using camera traps and the last month communicate with the local people about their experiences.
Also with Dimas everything is going well. He is still wild, aggressive and shy. We try to avoid human contact with him and give him live prey every week to stimulate his natural behaviour. He is hunting very good. We did a total medical check up; taking blood samples, vaccinations, we gave a microchip and took body measurements. Dimas is in very good body condition and weights 25 kg, we think he is around 3-4 years old.