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.
Jan 10, 2014

A 400% increase of tigers in the Zov Tigra!

Tiger caught in a camera trap in Zov Tigra Park
Tiger caught in a camera trap in Zov Tigra Park

Monitoring of Amur tigers

Over the past three years our partners from Zoological Society of London have been using camera traps to monitor tigers and also conducting snow track surveys in Zov Tigra National Park (ZT). Because it is vitally important to understand how tigers move within their range inside and outside of the park, the survey was extended to include the Lazovsky Nature Reserve and unprotected area between Zov Tigra and the reserve which is managed by the private hunting club “Medved” (MHL). Monitoring a larger and continuous area provided better information about tiger survival, reproduction, and movements of animals between protected areas where they are likely more susceptible to poaching.

Specialists counted 8 adult tigers in Zov Tigra and 25 more tigers in the study area outside the park from December 2012-May 2013. These results are great news for tigers because they indicate a 400% increase of tigers in ZT (which still has lots of room for more tigers) compared to two animals counted last year. The fact that no wolves were recorded this year in Zov Tigra is additional evidence that tigers are making a comeback because the decline of wolves as Amur tigers increase in abundance is well documented in Russia. Tiger specialists also found good reproduction in 2013 throughout the area including one new litter of cubs on neighboring protected area and 10 older cubs (sub adults) alive from 4 litters recorded during 2012 survey.

These results are the best indicator of the good anti-poaching protection of the park. We want to thank everyone who contributed to our project in 2013 through GlobalGiving! Your support has truly made a difference for tigers and we will be grateful if you will continue to support our law-enforcement work in Zov Tigra National Park in 2014.

*The study was conducted by Linda Kerley, ZSL

Dec 23, 2013

Photo report from rehabilitation center

Dear supporters, this week we would like to share with you some new photographs of the orphaned tiger cubs, which are getting ready for the release back into the wild at the Rehabilitation Centre for Tigers and Other Rare Species in Alekseevka village.

According to Center’s specialists the young predators are doing well. The cubs started their first hunting training. They successfully hunted down deer and wild boars. Both male and female tigers succeeded in killing of a large prey.

Cubs are well prepared for the winter. They have good fleshing and winter fur. After the first snow the tiger cubs became more careful. Now they are most active at dusk. Tiger Ustin and tigresses Svetlaya and Ilona became good friends — they communicate with each other through the adjacent fence.Now the main goal of the last period of rehabilitation is honing cubs’ hunting skills and we hope that all inhabitants of the Center will cope with this task perfectly well!

We are grateful to everyone who supports the Rehabilitation Centre for Tigers and Other Rare Species!

Photo credits: Petr Sonin and Katerina Blidchenko/ A.N. Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution of the Russian Academy of Sciences/ Inspection Tiger

Dec 18, 2013

The leopards at the deer farm in Khasan

The efficient anti-poaching activities that were implemented in Khasansky district of Primorye thanks to GlobalGiving supporters ensured good protection of leopards’ habitat. But the survival of the big cats also depends on a peaceful coexistence of animals and people.   

For more than two years the female Amur leopard Sophie lives in close proximity to one of the deer farms located in the Khasansky district of Primorye. Such neighborship is unfavorable to the owner because the animal uses his territory as the hunting site. Therefore, the farmer suffers constant damage from leopard’s presence.To solve the conflict between the man and the animal the Phoenix Fund together with the Institute of environmental problems and evolution of A.N. Severtsov of the Russian Academy of Sciences developed a special program which helps to maintain tolerant relation of the farmers towards rare predators. The main difference of this program from paying compensation to the owner of cattle for the damage caused by a predator is that every month the farmer receives a fixed sum of money for the fact of leopard’s presence in close proximity to his territory. The information on leopard’s presence in the territory of the deer farm at the beginning was gathered by scientists through the coordinates received from Sophie’s radio collar, and later, when the batteries on the collar ran down - through the photos made with photo traps.

After a long pause during the spring and autumn season when the hidden cameras couldn't record presence of a leopard at the Olenevod deer farm in Khasan, the good news came – camera traps finally caught female leopard Sophie, her kitten and a male leopard. Now the experts will compare new photos with hundreds of others available in a database to define who is visiting Sophie. Old or new guests?

The owner of the farm Alexander Khudenko was also excited about the new photographs of the leopards. These photographs allowed him to receive a promised compensation from the Phoenix Fund for a long-term presence of the animal on the farm’s land. The compensation for 7 months from May to November amounted in a rather big sum of money - 105 thousand rubles ($3500)!

In order to monitor leopards’ presence on the private territory in future, the Phoenix Fund purchased additional photo traps which will be installed along the perimeter of the deer farm in 2014.

We hope that this project will help cultivate tolerance among locals towards rare and beautiful wild cats, and also will make them proud to be living in the neighborhood with such unique animals.


Photo credits: A.N. Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution of the Russian Academy of Sciences

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