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 17, 2013

Best ranger serves the national park

We are glad to report that one of the best wildlife rangers of our region fights poaching in the Zov Tigra national park! In September 2012 during the celebration of annual Tiger Day festival in Vladivostok the names of the two Best Rangers of Primorsky province were announced following the result of the anti-poaching work in 2011-2012. For three years the Zov Tigra national park successfully implements law-enforcement monitoring program MIST which allows evaluating the performance of each anti-poaching inspector. This year two best wildlife rangers – Eugeny Terentyev state inspector of the Land of the Leopard national park and Sergei Marchenko state inspector of response team of Zov Tigra national park - were awarded with a trip to India. A visit to the fantastic tiger range country was sponsored by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).

A few weeks ago Sergei return to his homeland and shared some impressions from the trip and tiger protection system in India with his colleagues. The program included visits to three tiger reserves, exchange of experience with Indian rangers and meetings with locals. During the travel Sergei saw a great number of wild animals walking freely around the protected territories and being under reliable protection of the Indian guards. He also mentioned that the protection system is arranged more effective there: camera-traps are placed everywhere, information is instantly transferred through satellite communication to the rangers’ computers. Without leaving a guard post Indian inspectors can see everything that happens in the reserved area. Locals treat the security guards with deep respect and rangers themselves never break the park rules.

Such an experience is very valuable for Russian state inspectors as they feel more appreciation of their effort to protect tiger. Also from seeing the new and different methods of patrol work they can introduce some improvements to the existing protection system of the parks and reserves here in Russia. 

Apr 15, 2013

Latest update on the rehab residents

In March Cinderella continued to hunt rather professionally. Her prey animals were deer and boars. The tigress is 18 months old now. At this age young tigers begin their independent life in the wild nature. The final phase in Cinderella’s hunting training is the search of a prey (deer) in the neighboring open-air enclosure. In spring white snow cover in the enclosure turned into a yellow blanket of last year’s fallen leaves with gray brushwood and bushes. In this landscape Cinderella became hardly noticeable and changed her behavior. She worries less and is ok with people’s presence in the center as the tigress can hide in her enclosure really well.

The three tiger cubs spend most of the daytime in their wooden lodge (8 x 4) where they were kept initially before the release to the quarantine open-air enclosure. Now they leave the lodge only in the morning and evening twilight – during their activity peak. After Cinderella’s release back into the wild the cubs will occupy her enclosures, both rehabilitation and hunting ones.

The fifth tiger cub Ustin is living in the spacious reserve open-air enclosure where there are two dens and other conditions for successful rehabilitation.

Apr 15, 2013

South team guards the park well

In January, the South team conducted 24 anti-poaching patrols on the territory of the Land of the Leopard National Park. Patrols were conducted both during the daytime and at night, mostly on the southern part of the protected area. Sometimes, the team also visited central and northern parts of the national park to reveal and prevent wildlife crimes. Patrols were carried out spontaneously, so that poachers could not plan their illegal actions. There were a few joint patrols with police officers and border guards. In January, the rangers observed remarkably high concentrations of hunters in the vicinity of roads hunting game at night, hunting from a vehicle or with the aid of a spotlight. Hunters did not want to hunt on foot due to deep snow this winter and preferred hunting from their vehicles. Also, by the drive-by hunting they could avoid to be tracked and caught by rangers. Moreover, ungulates descended from the hills into river valleys bordering with main roads in the area.

On January 4, during a night patrol the team spotted a vehicle near the Upper Brusya River and suspected that some guys were hunting there at night with the aid of a spotlight. The team members made an ambush at a place where the poachers could be easily stopped and arrested. The rangers set out a decoy deer to catch poachers who illegally commit drive-by deer shootings from their vehicles. They concealed themselves in the brush on the other side of the road and waited. The decoy deer was too tempting. As soon as the poacher approached the decoy deer and fired a shot from their vehicle or the road, the rangers swooped in. Unfortunately, the poachers managed to drive away, but the rangers saw a license plate and informed the police in order to identify an owner of the vehicle and investigate the case. 

On January 6, the team chased nighttime hunters. When the rangers stopped a vehicle of hunters, they inspected the jeep and found a rifle and a lamp that poachers used for nigh hunting. No killed animals were found. Probably, they threw it out of the vehicle trying to escape.  Suddenly, the violators decided to escape the scene and recklessly knocked down one of the rangers. After 15 minutes, the jeep with the violators was stopped by traffic police. A criminal proceeding was initiated.

On January 24, when patrolling an area near Narvinsky wildlife overpass, the team spotted footprints leading deep inside the protected area. It was decided to track down trespassers. Only after a 5-hour pursuit the rangers caught two men with two rifles one of which turned out illegal. The detainees were taken to local police station.

In January, the team restored old feeding stations for ungulates and built a new one. Also, the rangers gave two lectures for schoolchildren in Zarubino (on January 14) and Barabash (on January 28).

In February, the team carried on patrolling the assigned territory. All in all, the team conducted 20 patrols. Besides anti-poaching activities, the rangers took part in wildlife survey.

On February 9, while patrolling the southern part of Land of the Leopard National Park, the team detained a man for unauthorized presence. An administrative citation was issued upon the violator. Later, on February 13, the same man was apprehended by the rangers again and was fined.

Evgeny Stoma, the team’s leader, noted that the number of intruders as well as the amount of illegal hunting decreased significantly. He suggests that it could be a result of regular patrols in the area and the frozen snow hindering movements in the forest. However, there were three cases of illegal hunting from vehicles.  Unfortunately, it was impossible to catch the violators.

On February 17, the team received a call from residents of Barabash village that a tiger approached close to their settlement. The rangers instructed the people on main rules of human behavior in case of encounter with the predator and asked to call them back if the tiger returned.

Additionally, the team together with Natalia Drobysheva, experienced educator, visited a school in Slavyanka and gave lectures on careful attitude towards nature.

In March, the team conducted 24 patrols.

Frequent foot patrols in hard-to-access areas of the national park did not reveal any sign of people’s presence there (no tracks) which proved that nobody entered that territory illegally in winter. Poachers mostly concentrated along roads and near human settlements where there was a high concentration of ungulates that time. In March, there were no poaching cases registered on the protected area, because March is a season of poaching of sea cucumber and therefore poachers focused their illegal activities from forest to the sea.

During foot patrols the rangers found a few artificial salt-licks for ungulates and tree stands installed for illegal hunting. They recorded coordinates of their discovery with the use of GPS units and will keep an eye on this area in summer when poachers are more likely to return there. 

There were several meetings with officers from Federal Security Bureau in order to discuss opportunities for cooperation aimed at prevention wildlife crimes.

In the middle of March, a six-member volunteer fire-fighting team began their activities. The team’s task was to prevent forest fires on the southern part of Land of the Leopard National Park. On March 31, several fires deliberately started by unknown persons along the railroad between Bomburovo and Pozharsky railway stations were promptly extinguished by the team.

Additionally, the team delivered forage for ungulates to feeding stations and gave lectures on nature for schoolchildren in Primorsky and Bezverkhovo villages.

Tiger prey
Tiger prey
Forest fire-fighting
Forest fire-fighting
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