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.
Apr 15, 2015

The released cubs are doing great!

According to the Amur Tiger Programme press centre four of the five cubs that were released into the wild by President Vladimir Putin in Russia’s Far East have adapted well to their new surroundings.

“A group of researchers is currently in the Amur Region, exploring tiger trails and tracking the movements of the radio-collared tigers. Four of the five tiger cubs that were released into the wild have fully adapted and settled in the Amur Region, the Khabarovsk Territory and the Jewish Autonomous Region,” Viktor Serdyuk, a spokesman for the Tiger special inspection service, told reporters. “And Ustin would have done well too, if he hadn’t crossed into China during the ice breakup.”

The four tigers are doing fine out in the wild, he added. “They hunt successfully, so the scientists aren’t worrying about them. We can say the experiment to release the cubs into the wild has been a success.”

In 2013, five tiger cubs, weak and abandoned, were found in the Far Eastern taiga. The cubs were named Ustin, Kuzya, Borya, Svetlaya and Ilona. In May 2014, after rehabilitation Kuzya, Borya and Ilona were released into the wild in the Amur Region. Ustin and Svetlaya were released in the Jewish Autonomous Region in June. All five were fitted with radio collars, making it possible to track their movements via satellite.

In autumn, Kuzya and Ustin crossed into China but returned in December. Ustin swam across the Amur and ventured into several villages in China where he hunted various animals. After crossing back into Russia, he settled in the Bolshoi Khekhtsir Nature Reserve not far from Khabarovsk, where he reportedly attacked dogs. In late December, scientists had to catch Ustin and place him in a rehabilitation centre in the Primorye Region. It turned out that he had suffered an injury on his way back from China. At present, Ustin lives in a zoo in Rostov-on-Don.

As for the tigress Zolushka (Cinderella), released into the Bastak Nature Reserve in the Jewish Autonomous Region two years ago, she is looking to become a mother. “Scientists have discovered that she has been accompanied by a male for a long time, so there is every reason to assume that she will have cubs soon,” Serdyuk said.

Feb 10, 2015

Amur leopard census completed in Primorye

A one-off winter count of rare wild cats has been completed in Land of the Leopard National Park. From 31 January through 2 February, Land of the Leopard employees covered 67 routes totalling around 700 kilometres in a massive effort to measure the tiger and leopard populations in the southern part of Russia’s Primorsky krai. A similar count will begin in northern Primorye and the Khabarovsk Territory on 7 February.

 “The count in the national park proceeded as scheduled - 100 per cent of the routes, around 700 kilometres, were covered within three days,” Yevgeny Stoma, Deputy Director for Security at Land of the Leopard, told reporters. “There were no emergencies. The staff did their job responsibly and the equipment didn’t let us down either. Both tiger and leopard tracks and quite a few  remains of prey were found. The latter were recorded too.”

 Land of the Leopard inspectors also used the opportunity to check camera traps and install new ones where necessary. Several new cameras were set up in areas where numerous wild cats left tracks in the snow.

 “Tiger and leopard tracks were spotted on the majority of the routes,” Yelena Salmanova, Deputy Director for Science and Environmental Education at Land of the Leopard, said in an interview. “In addition, we managed to collect a good amount of excrement samples of the rare felines for genetic testing. But it would be premature to give any figures, as it will take several months to process the count data. The first results will be available in spring.”

 The previous counts estimated the population of the Amur leopards on Land of the Leopard’s territory at approximately 50 animals.

 

Information by the Far Eastern Lepard Programme 
http://programmes.putin.kremlin.ru/en/amur_leopard/news/25018
Jan 13, 2015

Tiknon's life in rehab

Tikhon watches the deer from his enclosure (c) IT
Tikhon watches the deer from his enclosure (c) IT

Dear supporters, 

This week we wanted to wish you all lots of prosperity in the new year and share a touching insight from the life in rehab from Ekaterina Blidchenko, who works in the rehabilitation center and is the employee of the Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

"Life in rehab is much easier than the independent life in taiga. Living in enclosures, tigers have lots of free time. And how do they spend it? Well, sleeping most of the time. Tiger Tiknon is no exception.  Waking up, Tikhon watch the world go by: listening to the sounds, capturing a variety of odors. Sometimes Tikhon interrupts contemplation to take care of his luxurious fur. In general, life is serene. But the other day this serenity was violated. A bevy of roe deer approached the enclosure. Little did they know about a danger that awaited them right behind the fence. Having noticed the guests Tikhon began to investigate them in detail. Even through the monitor we felt the inner turmoil of a wild cat, a born predator! But only the tip of his tail showed his excitement - dark tail tip twitched nervously from side to side. The rest of Tikhon’s body remained still; he only pressed his ears a little – a tiger in a hide. Were it not for the cage separating tiger from his prey a feast would have happened, but for now the deer were safe.  And when they whipped out of sight Tikhon’s life resumed its normal course."

Peaceful life (c) Inspection Tiger
Peaceful life (c) Inspection Tiger

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