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 16, 2013

End of the year patrol results

In October, the patrol work was generally conducted on the assigned southern territories of the Land of the Leopard National Park (LLNP). The team also patrolled northern and central parts of the PA. Some of the patrols were carried out with the involvement of operative employees of border troops, Primorsky Fishery Management Department and Regional Fishing Inspection.

The team carried out 30 patrols, 12 of them were productive (36 administrative citations for trespassing were issued, and also one criminal investigation was initiated). The work was conducted mainly during evening and night time.

In the end of October, the inspectors registered a splash in trespassing violations, such as entrance to the territory on a personal vehicle, illegal fishing of salmon, illegal camping, etc. These violations, first of all, were prompted by the beginning of salmon spawning season in the rivers of the protected area. It is worth mentioning that this season there were less local poachers from Khasansky district and more visitors from Ussuriisky, Spasky, Volnonadezhdensky districts. The decrease in violations among local population shows that local people are well aware of PA borders, the status of the national park and punishment for disobeying laws, but there is no such knowledge among citizens from other districts of Primorsky krai.

Considering the circumstances the team decided to concentrate attention on the rivers’ surroundings and the Narva River in particular. In the first half of the month the inspectors used a rubber boat to go downstream the river. However, violators quickly adapted to the team’s methods of work and changed their poaching strategies. Given that, the inspectors also changed their work tactics that brought good results.

Also during the reported period, the team did not lose control over forest territories of the Park. Several foot patrols were carried out in remote forests. These checks were aimed to reveal poaching. However, no hunting violations were revealed.

In October, the new team of fire-fighting volunteers was fully equipped. Fortunately, there were no ignitions in the southern territory of the LLNP.

In November, the South team conducted 26 anti-poaching patrols, issued 10 administrative citations and initiated a criminal proceeding against two groups of fishermen. While patrolling, the inspectors were charged with prevention illegal hunting and fishing. Patrols were conducted both during the daytime and at night. Sometimes, border guards and specialists of Regional Fishing Inspection joined the team to conduct joint patrols.

During the first part of November the team’s attention was paid to the prevention of violations near spawning rivers within the protected area, especially the Narva River. As a result, 10 administrative citations were issued on violators. When patrolling the Narva River, the inspectors detained two groups of anglers and took them to the local police station to initiate a criminal proceeding against them.

In the second part of November the team focused their attention on the forested area to prevent illegal hunting. On November 20, while patrolling the Upper Alimovka River, the team found foot prints leading deep in the wood of the protected area. When tracking the footprints, the inspectors discovered the remnants of wild roe deer. Unfortunately, further investigation did not let identify suspects who killed the animal. On November 21, during a patrol along the Narva River the team sighted an Amur leopard and took footage and photos of the rare animal.

Besides anti-poaching activities, the team also was involved in fire-fighting. On November 14, a fire was discovered on the wetlands of Bezverhovsky hunting lease, adjacent territory to the national park. The South team in cooperation with volunteers arrived on the scene and extinguished the fire promptly.

Additionally, the team delivered lectures on careful attitude towards nature at local schools in Tsukanovo and Gvozdevo villages.

In December, the South team conducted 28 anti-poaching patrols, participated in tiger/leopard survey in Land of the Leopard National Park, read two lectures for schoolchildren and initiated two criminal proceedings. Patrols were conducted both during the daytime and at night, mostly on the southern part of the protected area. While patrolling, the inspectors were charged with prevention illegal hunting and fishing. Sometimes, border guards and specialists of Regional Fishing Inspection joined the team to conduct joint patrols.

 On December 11, the inspectors detained a hunter for illegally killing of a pheasant while in possession of an illegal firearm. A criminal proceeding was initiated. Analogous violation was revealed on December 14 when the inspectors heard a gunshot and then managed to stop a car with a poacher. During a search of the car the rangers found an uncased rifle and a dead pheasant. A criminal proceeding was initiated.

No more violations were revealed in December, however more than once unauthorized presence of people was recorded in the protected area. Such facts coupled with the discoveries of dressed wild animals indicated that people came there to poach. Unfortunately, anti-poaching efforts used by the team did not let catch poachers. 

In December, two birds (a falcon and an owl) were found injured. After a few days of rehabilitation the falcon was released back to the wild, but the owl could not regain its health so quickly. The owl’s wing was seriously injured and it is more likely that it cannot fly anymore. The bird will be kept at special enclosure until vets will make final decision about its future.

From December 24 to December 26 the team participated in wildlife survey. On December 3 and December 10 the inspectors read lectures for schoolchildren in Kraskino and Posiet villages.

 

Jan 15, 2013

Stray Tiger Cub Found in Primorye

During the first week of January 2013 residents of Svetlogorye village, Pozharsky district of Primorye, found tiger cub paw prints near the human settlement.  Although there were no conflict cases yet, local people started getting nervous and informed local law enforcement agencies about the young predator. Tiger specialists immediately arrived at the scene in order to find out what caused the animal to approach the dwellings. According to specialists of Primorsky Hunting Management Department, there were four tiger cubs wandering about. Three of them made their way to the north – Khabarovsky krai, and the one left in Primorye. No tracks of any adult tigresses were found nearby.

The cub was captured on January 9th. As the animal was extremely emaciated, it was decided to transport it to the Utyos Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Khabarovsky krai which is located not too far from Svetlogorye village. There were fears that the cub would not get through a long trip to the Amur Tiger Rehabilitation Centre located in the south of Primorye (almost an 8-hour drive). The young predator will be kept at Utyos for at least a couple of weeks until vets can decide the fate of the animal. If the tiger regain its health quickly, it will be transported to the Amur Tiger Rehabilitation Centre for further rehabilitation where Centre’s caretakers will prepare the animal for release back to the wild.

It is known that cubs left without a mother in the wild are completely vulnerable and cannot survive on their own. Discovering tiger cubs roaming without their mother in the wild means that something must have happened to the adult tigress, otherwise, it would have never left its cubs alone. Experts will investigate the case and try to find out what have happened with the mother tigress.

Sergei Bereznuk, director of the Phoenix Fund:
That’s the second time this winter when orphaned tiger cubs are found in the wild. The first case occurred in late November 2012 when three cubs  were found without their mother, and now they are kept at the Amur Tiger Rehabilitation Centre near Alekseevka village (Nadezhdinsky district of Primorye). And now,one more tiger cub has been rescued. Probably, three other siblings will be captured soon too. This is certainly a very alarming sign for the Amur tiger population.  It might be supposed that tigresses had been killed by poachers. If the tiger cubs found this winter die, the population will lose  NINE individuals only within the first half of winter.  That is why our top priority now is to successfully rehabilitate them for return to the wild. It is extremely needed to provide finanacial support to the Amur Tiger Rehabilitation Centre, help keep tigers there and purchase necessary equipment“.

Jan 15, 2013

Patrol work in Zov Tigra bacame more efficient

A map shows the ATV movements and routes.
A map shows the ATV movements and routes.

Since the creation of the park there are still areas where the foot of inspector never stepped because of poor accessibility of the park. Due to the mountainous terrain to the north and south of the Park and a few surfaced roads, vehicular access is extremely limited and particularly so during winter and spring, when roads become impassable. In June 2012, thanks to financial support from Healthy Planet the Phoenix Fund provided the Park’s anti-poaching teams with a quad bike (ATV). Since July the ATV has been used intensively by the guards and showed great performance.

A GPS Fleet Tracking equipment was installed on the ATV. The Vehicle Tracking System allows to create an electronic record of the movements of the vehicle and constantly keep track of the whereabouts of the vehicle through its communication with various local satellites, and then periodically sends a signal to a database, where the information is stored and analysed. 

From July through November the Park lands were protected by two mobile anti-poaching teams: the South and the North teams. They conducted patrols along the perimeter and in the core area of the national park. In addition, two guards were on duty at the entry gates. These guards rotated on a 10 day basis.

During the patrols the teams were checking camps and winter cabins located in the PA, making ambushes on roads leading to the Park, tracking hunters on fresh snow, gathering all tips concerning poaching cases or other violations within the park.

Besides the newly purchased ATV the Park has a snowmobile, two motorcycles, and four jeeps in its arsenal however those vehicles allow the teams to patrol along roads and areas of backcountry. On ATV the inspectors conducted off-road patrols through the Park’s brushy wilderness areas looking for people engaged in illegal activity where they did not manage to get before.  

Additionally, the inspectors took measures to prevent, detect and monitor forest fires over the park, constructed feeding stations for ungulates, and explained basic rules of human behaviour in taiga to outdoorsmen in order to make them good, safe and smart wildlife observers.

From July 1st through December 31st 2012 the inspectors of Zov Tigra National Park achieved the following results:

164 anti-poaching patrols were conducted, including

20 off-road patrols on the ATV,

17 administrative citations were issued during the ATV patrols,

13 violations of protection regime were revealed,

1,101 km patrolled on foot,

539 km patrolled on ATV.

This effective work and great results show that the Park where there are two anti-poaching teams needs a second ATV to protect the Amur tiger habitat with the best effort.

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