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.
Jun 19, 2015

Leopard cub was saved from inevitable death

One year old Amur leopard cub with an injured paw was found in the Land of the Leopard (LoL) National Park near the border with China. According to experts the leopard lost its fingers after getting into a poacher’s trap or a snare.

Russian border guards were the first who found the cub. They noticed a leopard tossing around one place not leaving the area. It was obvious that something was wrong with the animal. Having realized that, the border guards immediately reported about the incident to the national park authorities. The LoL staff arrived at the site shortly together with the specialists from the Primorsky Environmental Control Department (Rosprirodnadzor), WCS and the experts from Nadezhdinsky veterinary station.

Due to the injury the exhausted and frightened kitten would not let people to approach it but could not escape. It was clear that the animal will die without veterinary help. The experts decided to immobilize the cub and transported it to the wildlife rehabilitation center in Alekseevka village. Leopard’s examination showed that the four fingers on the front paw were missing and there was an inflammation around the wound. The cub had a fever heat when it got to the rehab and without treatment it could die within the few days. The poor leopard suffered due to the fault of poachers who placed their traps on the border. After the surgery the condition of the patient is satisfactory. Veterinarians from around the world are involved in the discussion on the further treatment for the animal. However, this cub will never return to the wild because it lost the ability to hunt successfully without the fingers and claws.

With your donations the Phoenix Fund will continue to provide support to the anti-poaching teams of the Land of the Leopard National Park to ensure safety of the rare cats at least within the borders of the protected area. 

Apr 28, 2015

"Flying ranger" is now guarding the leopards!

Unmanned aerial vehicle with a camera and video recorder - quadcopter - appeared at the disposal of the Land of the Leopard National Park. The device and a series of training sessions for the park’s rangers were provided by the Phoenix Fund.

Earlier, the rangers of the Land of the Leopard had already had the opportunity to witness the patrol effectiveness of the copter during several presentations. And this time Phoenix donated first UAV to the national park just in time with the beginning of fire-hazardous season.

"Certainly, it is a valuable gift to the national park, - says Eugene Stoma, Deputy Director of the Land of the Leopard. - Performance characteristics of the copter will allow monitoring fires, controlling poaching, tracking wildlife conflict, and conducting animals’ counts. I think this equipment would be very effective in the inspector's work. "

The rangers had passed a series of lessons learning how to operate the UAV. The first training was carried out in Vladivostok where the inspectors received theoretical knowledge and later they were able to demonstrate new knowledge in practice under the supervision of the Phoenix Fund's staff.

"The crew from the Land of the Leopard is promising. The guys are young and technically competent", - says Sergey Bereznuk, director of the Phoenix Fund. - They absorbed all the necessary information rapidly and have proven that they can put it into practice. During the training session using the UAV inspectors managed to detect a fire, which at that time was being extinguished by their colleagues."

Air monitoring of the Land of the Leopard will be held as needed. In fire-hazardous period copter will help identify wild fires and monitor the situation, depending on the wind speed and direction. In addition, it is planned to purchase two more similar devices that will allow for conducting air patrols by the three anti-poaching teams of the park simultaneously.

We want to thank our dear supporters for their contribution to this important Amur leopard conservation project. With your help we will make sure the best practice to fight poaching is used by law-enforcement teams in the Land of the Leopard National Park!

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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.

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