Phoenix Fund

Our mission is to conserve the exceptionally rich fauna and flora of the Russian Far East, the only region where Amur tigers and leopards survive in the wild. These magnificent animals are threatened by habitat deterioration, poaching of the big cats themselves and depletion of their prey populations.
Oct 28, 2014

Final project report

(c) Zov Tigra National Park
(c) Zov Tigra National Park

Phoenix has been co-operating fruitfully with Zov Tigra National Park since its establishment in 2008 and will continue to assist in their efforts to keep tiger and prey numbers stable.

The anti-poaching teams of the Park prevent/reveal violations of protection regime, gather all tips concerning supposed tiger traders, dealers or orders for tiger skin, if there is any, and forward this information to relevant agencies (customs, police).

Thanks to the financial support from GlobalGiving donations in previous years, rangers in the field have the most sophisticated tools they need to patrol wild places threatened by armed and rather well-funded hunters illegally killing off tiger prey in the national park. We provided our rangers with the best equipment and smartest technology to effectively combat all kinds of poaching.

Unfortunately, the Federal Government has not been allocating sufficient funds for the Park to operate in full force. Thanks to our GlobalGiving supporters, the law enforcement staff could conduct anti-poaching patrols on a regular basis in 2011-2014, and we managed to increase the efficiency of anti-poaching efforts in Zov Tigra which contributed to a 400% increase of tigers in the national park last year. The all-terrain vehicle was purchased for the Park’s rangers. Through supporting regular anti-poaching patrols, supplying rangers with fuel and spare parts for patrol vehicle, and implementing Spatial Monitoring and Reporting programme SMART, we ensured adequate protection of the Amur tigers and their habitat in Zov Tigra National Park.

The Phoenix Fund is satisfied with the overall progress of the project. From January through October 2014, Phoenix provided Zov Tigra National Park with fuel, spare and repair parts to carry out regular anti-poaching and habitat protection patrols. Anti-poaching activities were implemented by guardians. The main anti-poaching methods were as follows:

-              foot, car, ATV, snowmobile and motorcycle patrols;

-              checking camps, winter cabins and recreation centres located in the PA;

-              making night ambushes on roads leading to the Park;

-              tracking hunters in spring when there is thin crust of ice over snow;

-              gathering all tips concerning poaching cases or other violations within PAs.

In 2014, we had two meetings (in May and August) at the Zov Tigra National Park during which we discussed the results achieved in 2013 and 2014. During the first half of this year, the law enforcement efforts in Zov Tigra National Park were higher than in 2013! It means the quality of patrol efforts increased substantially: the inspectors carried out more foot patrols, spent more time on patrols, and increased frequencies of patrols. And there are more tigers there. In the beginning of 2014, the protection system of the Zov Tigra remained the same: the inspectors were on duty at two guarding stations at the entry gates with 10 days shifts and two mobile anti-poaching teams - the South and the North teams – that regularly patrolled the protected lands. The inspectors used jeeps, motorcycles, snowmobiles and ATVs depending on the route and weather conditions to get to the remote areas of the park. During the first half of the year, only three violations took place in ZTNP.

During the many-days patrol carried out from April 27 through May 10, the North team revealed an illegal salt ground and a hide on the northern edge of the national park near Sukhaya Rechka. The inspectors disassembled the construction and removed it from the site. Poachers had no chance to use this infrastructure anymore, and wildlife crime was prevented thanks to timely response of the mobile team.

On May 14, inspectors Tikhonovich and Borisenko were patrolling the road along the Sobolinny spring leading towards mountain Oblachnaya and stopped a man who entered the protected area illegally. An administrative citation was issued and violator was imposed a fine.

The third violation was also a trespassing and was registered by the South team near Kamensky waterfall on June 16. The inspectors wrote an administrative report and fined a violator.

In total, from January through July 2014, the anti-poaching teams of the Zov Tigra National Park conducted 580 day and night patrols and revealed 11 violations.

The reason why we decided to terminate this project on GlobalGiving is that in August 2014 Zov Tigra National Park and Lazovsky Nature Reserve were amalgamated to become one institution renamed United Directorate of Federal Nature Reserves and National Parks. Phoenix will continue its support for United Protected Area to prevent weak performance under the new administration. We feel that there is a chance we would not be able to meet commitments to our GlobalGiving supporters with this project during the transition time. You can always follow our work and get fresh news on our projects at http://fundphoenix.org/en/

Let us thank you once again for the great support you provided for Zov Tigra National Park. Your support ensured the survival of Amur tigers there!

 

Links:

Oct 1, 2014

Quadcopter gets a bird's-eye view of the park

First outdoor test flight of a quadcopter have occurred under the territory of Land of the Leopard National Park this week. Bird’s-eye view video and images of the protected area were get thanks to the Phoenix Fund. More and more frequently, one can see that unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) with mounted photo- and video cameras are used during outdoor public events. However, it is no secret that quadcopters are also used to get beautiful landscape photos. Thanks to the Phoenix Fund, it became possible to do landscape photos just a few hundred meters above a tourist route named “Following the Path of the Leopard”. During a walk along the route, the quadcopter rose in the sky several times. Although trees with abundant foliage did not let to see the details of the tourist route, it became possible to get wonderful bird’s-eye views of the hills in the national park; and it’s worth it.

“Today new technology gives us unique opportunities”, says Valentina Vysotskaya, Head of the Environmental Education Department of Land of the Leopard National Park. “It let us show much better and more vividly the beauty of the Southwest Primorye to people who have already visited us and those who are just planning to come here. I hope that our collection of still photos taken from the quadcopter will be constantly replenished by the new ones, and they will help attract here real nature enthusiasts”.

After conducting successful first test flights of the quadcopter above the Land of the Leopard, specialists of the Phoenix Fund and the national park would like to hold a series of analogous meetings.

“Our task is to help national parks and nature reserves of the Russian Far East to protect unique nature”, says Director of the Phoenix Fund Sergei Bereznuk. “In our work we are trying to go with the times and use new tools and technology. And light unmanned aerial vehicles with mounted video cameras are among these tools. A quadcopter flying camera lets observe how the national park is protected, gives information on areas that have high fire potential, and helps monitor wildlife, etc. Also, it is important to note that such camera let show beautiful landscape and natural objects from a different angle. We are hopeful that such a new look at the Land of the Leopard will draw more attention towards conservation of rare big cats living in this area. We have been working on this pilot project for the second year in row through trial and error. Now, we are moving into a different level. We can provide technical assistance and lead the project in the protected areas of the Russian Far East. We are thankful to Alertis: fund for bear and nature conservation, Whitley Fund for Nature and ALTA for their support of this pilot project”.

You can see video here: http://youtu.be/dCB7LA8Hbzg

Links:

Aug 26, 2014

How the released tiger cubs are doing?

According to the specialists from the Programme for the study and conservation of the Amur tiger in the Russian Far East the two Amur tigers that were released into the wild at the Zhuravliny wildlife sanctuary in the Jewish Autonomous Region are doing fine! 

On 3 June, two cubs Svetlaya and Yustin left the Rehabilitation Centre for a location in the north of the Jewish Autonomous Region in a motorcade led by an air-conditioned animal transportation vehicle. After a 1,200-kilometre non-stop drive, the motorcade arrived at the village of Bidzhan, where a crane was used to reload the 400-kilogramme cages to caterpillar cross-country vehicles that headed across marshy terrain for the Zhuravliny wildlife sanctuary.

The last 60-kilometre leg through the marshes was the most trying experience for all expedition members, who were tormented by heat and gadflies. People had to stop several times to spray the tigers and the cages with cool water from the river.

On 5 June, when ecologists, biologists and environmentalists celebrated the World Environment Day, the two tigers, Yustin and Svetlaya, were released into the wild. Thus, yet another step was made towards restoring the Amur tiger population in an area where it had been destroyed by humans in the mid-20th century.

The tigers survived the journey fairly well. In the dusk, the cages were lowered by hand to the ground at a maximum distance from populated localities in an area where concentrations of wild boar, roe deer, red deer and other potential prey had been spotted.

All the released tigers are being covered by a comprehensive monitoring project. Satellite collars help scientists to track their movements and identify hunting grounds. The satellite data indicate that the cubs adapted successfully and now enjoy their freedom.

We thank everyone who contributed to the rehabilitation of Svetlaya and Yustin and made this comeback to wild possible for the tiger cubs that were doomed to die or live a poor life somewhere in a cage!

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