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.
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!
A one-off winter count of rare wild cats has been completed in Land of the Leopard National Park. From 31 January through 2 February, Land of the Leopard employees covered 67 routes totalling around 700 kilometres in a massive effort to measure the tiger and leopard populations in the southern part of Russia’s Primorsky krai. A similar count will begin in northern Primorye and the Khabarovsk Territory on 7 February.
“The count in the national park proceeded as scheduled - 100 per cent of the routes, around 700 kilometres, were covered within three days,” Yevgeny Stoma, Deputy Director for Security at Land of the Leopard, told reporters. “There were no emergencies. The staff did their job responsibly and the equipment didn’t let us down either. Both tiger and leopard tracks and quite a few remains of prey were found. The latter were recorded too.”
Land of the Leopard inspectors also used the opportunity to check camera traps and install new ones where necessary. Several new cameras were set up in areas where numerous wild cats left tracks in the snow.
“Tiger and leopard tracks were spotted on the majority of the routes,” Yelena Salmanova, Deputy Director for Science and Environmental Education at Land of the Leopard, said in an interview. “In addition, we managed to collect a good amount of excrement samples of the rare felines for genetic testing. But it would be premature to give any figures, as it will take several months to process the count data. The first results will be available in spring.”
The previous counts estimated the population of the Amur leopards on Land of the Leopard’s territory at approximately 50 animals.
For all our supporters who follow the fate of leopardess Sophie and her cubs that dwell in the vicinity of Olenevod deer farm we have some good news!
The photographs received from camera-traps in the middle of November prove that mother and her cubs are doing well. Take a look!
It is to be recalled that 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.
First outdoor test flight of a quadcopter have occurred under the territory of Land of the Leopard National Park this week. Bird’s-eye view video and images of the protected area were get thanks to the Phoenix Fund. More and more frequently, one can see that unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) with mounted photo- and video cameras are used during outdoor public events. However, it is no secret that quadcopters are also used to get beautiful landscape photos. Thanks to the Phoenix Fund, it became possible to do landscape photos just a few hundred meters above a tourist route named “Following the Path of the Leopard”. During a walk along the route, the quadcopter rose in the sky several times. Although trees with abundant foliage did not let to see the details of the tourist route, it became possible to get wonderful bird’s-eye views of the hills in the national park; and it’s worth it.
“Today new technology gives us unique opportunities”, says Valentina Vysotskaya, Head of the Environmental Education Department of Land of the Leopard National Park. “It let us show much better and more vividly the beauty of the Southwest Primorye to people who have already visited us and those who are just planning to come here. I hope that our collection of still photos taken from the quadcopter will be constantly replenished by the new ones, and they will help attract here real nature enthusiasts”.
After conducting successful first test flights of the quadcopter above the Land of the Leopard, specialists of the Phoenix Fund and the national park would like to hold a series of analogous meetings.
“Our task is to help national parks and nature reserves of the Russian Far East to protect unique nature”, says Director of the Phoenix Fund Sergei Bereznuk. “In our work we are trying to go with the times and use new tools and technology. And light unmanned aerial vehicles with mounted video cameras are among these tools. A quadcopter flying camera lets observe how the national park is protected, gives information on areas that have high fire potential, and helps monitor wildlife, etc. Also, it is important to note that such camera let show beautiful landscape and natural objects from a different angle. We are hopeful that such a new look at the Land of the Leopard will draw more attention towards conservation of rare big cats living in this area. We have been working on this pilot project for the second year in row through trial and error. Now, we are moving into a different level. We can provide technical assistance and lead the project in the protected areas of the Russian Far East. We are thankful to Alertis: fund for bear and nature conservation, Whitley Fund for Nature and ALTA for their support of this pilot project”.
You can see video here: http://youtu.be/dCB7LA8Hbzg
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