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.
Jul 23, 2014

Great patrol results and coming changes

During the first half of this year, the law enforcement efforts in Zov Tigra National Park were higher than in 2013! It means the law enforcement monitoring programme MIST that you have supported through your donations helped to increase the quality of patrol efforts substantially: the inspectors carried out more foot patrols, spent more time on patrols, and increased frequencies of patrols. And there are more tigers there. MIST/SMART works perfect there.

The anti-poaching teams of the Zov Tigra National Park conducted 387 patrols, covered 1,630 km of protected area on foot, and 3,296 km on vehicles and motorcycles. Only two violations of protected regime took place in the national park in the reported period.

It is worth mentioning that later in 2014 Lazovsky Nature Reserve and Zov Tigra National Park will be amalgamated to become one institution renamed United Directorate of Federal Nature Reserves and National Parks. In that connection, we should do our best to prevent weak performance underthe new administration during the second half of the year. And the great news is soon you'll be able to support a bigger protected area and contribute to conservation of even more tigers!

May 28, 2014

Guards' work in the first half of 2014

Illegaly hunted game
Illegaly hunted game

In January 2014, the team carried out 23 anti-poaching patrols, some of which were conducted in cooperation with police officers. Also, the inspectors continued marking the border of the national park by setting up new signs. And as in previous months, they gave two lectures on careful attitude towards nature at school in Zarubino village.

On January 13, the team received information about a fire on Stolovaya hill in the Land of the Leopard National Park. Upon arrival, the inspectors discovered a large fire. Strong gusty wind blowing from sea to land and marshland with high and thick reeds hindered the efforts of the team to put out the fire. It took a few hours before it was extinguished. When examining the burned area, the inspectors determined that the fire was an act of arson. The fire burned about 45 hectares. On January 19, another fire was discovered near the Narva River. Thanks to prompt actions by the team, the fire did not spread deep into the forest and no damage was caused to the protected area. The burned area was about two hectares. The inspectors forwarded papers about the arson to Khasan police for further investigation. It is worth mentioning that due to the continued lack of adequate snow cover it was hard for the inspectors to reveal trespassing. That is why it was decided to increase the number of ambushes at places where poaching was most likely to occur. In January, the number of hunting out of a car increased.  In this connection, the team had to show up regularly on public roads in order to prevent such violations.

In February, the team continued patrolling the protected area and adjacent hunting leases in order to prevent or reveal poaching and protect the area from forest fires. Overall, the inspectors carried out 24 patrols and extinguished four fires. Due to increased number of fires inside the national park, in order to be able to respond promptly, effectively and safely to wildfires it was decided to reduce the distance of foot patrols and patrol mostly in areas where fires were likely to occur. Also, they gave three lectures on careful attitude towards nature at schools in Zanadvorovka and Barabash villages. In addition, the team set up information signs and repaired a patrol vehicle.

During night patrol on February 14 near Narvinsky firing range, the team saw a beam of light. When approaching to the light, the inspectors saw people who were casting “an artificial light” from their car hoping to shoot a deer. After a pursue, resistance by poachers and a fight, the violators with a rifled carbine were detained and taken to Khasan police station for further investigation.  A criminal case was initiated under the Article 258 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation.

In March, the team of central subordination continued patrolling the protected area in order to prevent and reveal any violations of environmental laws. Most patrols were carried out during daylight hours due to high fire-risk season. Sometimes, the patrols were conducted in cooperation with specialists of Krainovsky nature reserve and gamekeepers of adjacent hunting leases. In all, the team carried out 22 patrols, extinguished 11 forest fires and gave two lectures on nature conservation for schoolchildren.

As it was mentioned above, besides protecting the Park from poachers, the team paid special attention to prevent ignitions.  In all, eleven forest fires were detected and put out both in the Park and adjacent territory. According to the team’s leader, all fires were set deliberately. And the areas were fires took place remained the same as in previous fire seasons: Bezverkhovsky firing range (the Upper Pugachevka river), territory around Bamburovo railway station, Berabash, Primorsky and Ovchinnikovo villages.   

On March 1, while patrolling the team detected a forest fire near the Verkhnye Brusya river and promptly put it out. The fire burned a 100x20 m area. On March 4, a fire was extinguished in cottage village near Bamburovo railway station. The fire burned an area estimated at 30 meters.  On March 6, the team together with inspectors from other teams put out a fire on the Narvensky pass. The fire burned over 6 hectares.  On March 9, a forest fire on 12 km of Barabash-Primorsky highway was promptly extinguished. The fire burned about 10 hectares. On March 10, while patrolling along a railway, the inspectors detected a fire on the adjacent hunting lease. As there was a risk of fire spread from the hunting lease to the national park, it was decided to extinguish the fire immediately. The fire was put out quickly. On March 13, a fire was put out near a railway bridge over the Narva river. On March 19, in cooperation with inspectors from other teams a fire was extinguished on Narvinsky firing range. The fire burned the area estimated at 4 hectares.  From March 24 to March 26, the team together with volunteer fire fighters and foresters extinguished a forest fire started on the adjacent area near the Poima river. Swampy terrain with thick stands of tall reeds and strong and gusty wind blowing toward the national park hindered their efforts. The firefighters struggled several hours before the fire was put out. The fire burned a 3 kmx2km area.  On March 28, while patrolling near Narvinsky firing range, the team detected a fire and put it out at promptly. The fire burned about 8 hectares. On March 30, the team detected a fire on Narvinsky firing range again and put it out at once.

In April, most patrols were aimed at prevention of forest fires. The team patrolled day and night. Sometimes the patrols were carried out in cooperation with inspectors from other anti-poaching teams and officers from military forestry. In all, the team conducted 23 patrols.

On April 11, the team received information about ignition in the Park near Pozharsky railway station. Upon arrival on the scene, the team with colleagues from other AP teams discovered a burned area estimated at 1.5 km. Only after four-hour struggle, the fire was put out. On April 12, the team detected a fire near the Semiverstka river. The inspectors together with other anti-poaching teams tried to extinguish the fire several times, but strong and gusty wind and thick smoke hindered their efforts. The inspectors took another try next morning but failed to put out the fire properly due to a strong wind. It was decided to patrol the area on a regular basis in order to prevent fire spread to other areas. In the evening, the team was informed about another forest fire started near the Poima river. All Park’s teams were deployed there. It took four hours before the fire was put out. But due to dry and windy weather grass fires ignited again and again. It was decided to patrol the area on a regular basis too. In all, the fire burned an area estimated at 12 hectares. As no ignitions was detected since April 15, the inspectors were deployed to other spot to help put out a fire that started on April 17. The fire burned about 4,000 hectares. On April 18, when patrolling along Barabash-Primorsky highway, the team detected a fire and put it out promptly. About 1 hectare burned. On April 27, at noon the team was informed about a forest fire near Bamburovo railway station. Upon arrival on the scene, the inspectors saw that dry brush and gusty winds made the perfect conditions for fire spread to the area of the national park. The fire was put out only at 5 a.m. of the next day, but blazes appeared again and kept spreading with every wind gust. Thanks to help of foresters, the fire was finally localized at 1 p.m.

May 27, 2014

Three Tigers Were Released Back to the Wild!

(c) Vl.ru
(c) Vl.ru

On Thursday 22nd May 2014, after a long rehabilitation period three Amur tigers were released into the wild in Zhelundindsky Wildlife Refuge, which is the northwestern part of the Amur tiger range, in Amurskaya Oblast.  Russia’s President Vladimir Putin attended the release of the striped predators. Vladimir Vladimirovich gives particular attention to the state-supported Amur Tiger Programme and has already drawn public attention towards Amur tiger conservation problems repeatedly.

We would like to remind that two tiger brothers, Kuzya and Borya, together with their sister named Businka were found in November 2012 when they were 4-month-old cubs.  As they were extremely emaciated, frostbitten and unable to survive on their own in the wild, it was decided to take them to the Centre for Rehabilitation and Reintroduction of Tigers and Other Rare Animals in Alekseevka, Primorsky Krai, which was built  by A.N. Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution and Inspection Tiger. Unfortunately, about six months later the tigress Businka died after unsuccessful fight against Feline calicivirus disease.

Ilona, the third rehabilitated tiger that was released in Zhelundindsky Wildlife Refuge, was found near Svetlogorye village in Primorsky Krai on 25th February 2013 when she was 6 or 7 months old cub and initially was transported to Utyos Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre in Khabarovsky Krai.  In September 2013, Ilona was returned back to Primorsky krai in order to be rehabilitated at the Centre for Rehabilitation and Reintroduction of Tigers and Other Rare Animals in Alekseevka and prepared for return into the wild.

Two additional tigers, the female Svetlaya and the male Ustin, are waiting for their turn to be released. Their release is scheduled for June. Rehabilitation and reintroduction is implemented under the Amur Tiger Programme aimed at research and conservation of Amur tigers in the Russian Far East.

“We are happy that the tigers have been returned into the wild. The Phoenix Fund and our adherents and supporters have waited for this event for more than a year, and have provided the Inspection Tiger with financial and organizational support”, says Director of the Phoenix Fund Sergei Bereznuk. “Our staff member together with specialist of A.N. Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution visited Amurskaya Oblast just two weeks ago in order to ensure peaceful coexistence among local communities and their new neighbours.  A series of lectures on relationship between human and tiger was delivered for hunters and local people. Next week there will be another trip to Jewish Autonomous Oblast, potential release site for other tigers.  We would like to thank again all Russian adherents of the Phoenix Fund for their support and wish the tigers a long and happy life”.

On May 20, before their departure to a new home, the animals were observed and measured by the specialists. Also, all necessary tests were taken. Then, the tigers were fitted with satellite collars. Satellite-tracking data will allow rangers of the wildlife refuge and scientists monitor the tigers’ movements. The collars will automatically unfasten in a year, so they will not cause any disturbance to the animals.

It is not the first time when the Centre for Rehabilitation and Reintroduction of Tigers and Other Rare Animals has prepared striped predators for return into the wild. A year ago, a rehabilitated tigress named Zolushka was successfully released in Bastak Nature Reserve in Jewish Autonomous Oblast. This year, it was the largest release of rehabilitated Amur tigers ever, that became possible thanks to the joint efforts of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), Inspection Tiger, A.N. Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution, the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Phoenix Fund and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS).

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