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.
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.
In June 2012 Phoenix Fund finally purchased the first ATV for the Zov Tigra Natonal Park with the sponsorship of Healthy Planet. The vehicle already have been used by the anti-poaching team of the park and showed great performance. This means that at least two more ATVs would be extremely useful for law-enforcement service of the protected area. Therefore, Phoenix Fund continues to do fundraising for the ATV from the GlobalGiving supporters. We are very grateful for everyone who already donated for this project.
“From June to September 2012, the law-enforcement rangers of the Zov Tigra National Park conducted 12 many-days anti-poaching patrols, - says the director of the Park Yuri Bersenev, - Seventeen administrative citations were issued during this time for illegal fishing and trespassing. The good news is there were no poachers in the patrolled territories of the national park. The ATV kindly provided by the Healthy Planet became a very effective patrol vehicle. It allowed the rangers to get in the most remote and hard to access parts of the protected area. It showed greater performance in the mountainous landscape than the motorcycles and cars. We are very happy with this purchase and hope it will serve the park long helping protect an important tiger habitat. But we have two mobile teams that patrol different parts of the park which means we need another highly efficient vehicle for the second team disposal.”
“The Grizzly ATV became a truly irreplaceable transport for our everyday work, - comments the law-enforcement officer of the Zov Tigra National Park Sergei Marchenko, - It can take up to two people with 80 kg of the equipment to the patrol. In the first months of work we already were able to get to the arduous areas with no roads, cross the Milogradovka river fords. Now poachers who are very well equipped these days have no advantage and it is especially important in the autumn season when hunters go to forest to harvest wild game. ”
In January, the inspectors conducted six many-day patrols along the periphery of the protected area and in the core area of the national park. While patrolling, the guardians spotted a lot of tracks left by various wild animals, namely red deer, sika deer, Amur tiger and others, which indicated a high wildlife density in the park. During a patrol from January 4th to January 8th the inspectors met a hunter and a group of tourists and asked them to follow the rules of fire safety in the forest and treat nature carefully. On January 29, during a routine patrol near the Pasechny stream the inspectors discovered signs of some construction activities. A few trees (aspen and birch trees) had been fallen supposedly for the foundation of a tree which hunters planned to use for illegal deer hunting. The inspectors made an ambush with hope to see the violators. Unfortunately, nobody appeared there.
In February, the inspectors carried out four many-day patrols. No violations were revealed.
In March, the inspectors conducted three patrols in the park. On March 25, a forest fire approaching the borders of the national park was detected. Thanks to prompt actions by the inspectors, the fire was put out immediately and prevented from spreading into the park. Besides anti-poaching activities in February and March, the inspectors also were involved in wildlife census.
In April, the inspectors carried out four patrols inside the protected area. During a patrol from April 18 to April 21, an illegally constructed helipad was discovered in the upper Chertov stream. It was decided to make ambushes there on a regular basis in order to apprehend violators; however nobody was sighted there. No other violations were revealed.
In May, the inspectors conducted seven anti-poaching patrols, during which they observed numerous wildlife tracks, cleared nature trails, and checked vehicles of holidaymakers entering the park. No violations were revealed.
In June, the inspectors patrolled the protected area on foot and by vehicle. On June 15, when patrolling along the north-western border near the Klyuchevaya river, the team found tracks left by a quad bike and a motorbike. Unfortunately, the inspectors failed to catch or determine the people who entered the Park illegally. On June 18, the team was constructing a feeding station for ungulates when they heard two gun shots. But they could not find out what had happened because they had no vehicle to patrol. On June 21, they spotted tracks left by a quad bike. The path was blocked up with trees to hinder the inspectors in the efforts to chase the violators.
During one of the field trips to Lazovsky district the members of the Phoenix Fund and a tiger specialist spent a few days in the Zov Tigra national park in the Milogradova river area. The visit was timed to a meeting with managers and law-enforcement teams of the protected area to present them a report on anti-poaching activities developed on team's performance results through MIST law-enforcement monitoring system.
After a very fruitful meeting we decided to take a walk along the river and found tracks of a female tiger with a litter of 3 cubs in the park. The park's staff also got several camera traps photos of a female that looks to be lactating and seems to be the mother. That's definitely great news for the park and we wanted to share the news with everyone who supports our project at GlobalGiving. The tracks of the big male and lots of tracks of wild boar, elk, lynx, and even a brown bear are found everywhere in the protected area which means the effectiveness of protection is increasing!
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