Apr 29, 2021

Anti-poaching protection in Ussuriisky Reserve

(c) Phoenix Fund
(c) Phoenix Fund

From February through April 2021, we continued providing our assistance to protected areas in Primorsky krai to work with SMART, held feedback meetings with rangers, discussed patrol performance and options for improvement and provided new patrol targets for the next period. Despite coronavirus outbreak, rangers continued patrolling the assigned areas and prevented/revealed wildlife crimes.

Thanks to your support, we could provide funds necessary to maintain anti-poaching activities and to monitor and improve law enforcement efforts in Ussuriisky Nature Reserve in the reported months. Intense patrols by two law enforcement teams discouraged poachers from illegal access to nature reserve, and that has prevented a spike in illegal hunting.

On March 12th, we held our regular meeting with the inspectors of the Ussuriisky Reserve as part of the SMART program. The results of work for the last months of 2020 and the beginning of 2021 were discussed. Some indicators of the groups decreased slightly compared to the same period in previous years. The objective reasons for this situation are the coronavirus disease, forced quarantine, sick leaves of some of the employees, which caused an increased load on the remaining personnel of the Law Enforcement Department. Nevertheless, it was noted that the territory was not left unattended, the constant presence of guards in the reserve was ensured, the main tasks for the most areas were fulfilled, and there were no cases of poaching. Both ranger teams held 17-19 patrols each monthly.

At the moment, preparations for the spring fire-hazardous period have begun. We wish success to the inspectors of the Ussuriisky Reserve in their courageous daily work and thank you for your continuous support!

(c) Phoenix Fund
(c) Phoenix Fund
Feb 5, 2021

Where leopards feel safe

(c) Phoenix Fund
(c) Phoenix Fund

During the reporting period, from November through January, the anti-poaching team carried out 83 patrols in the Land of the Leopard. The priority task of the rangers was to search for potential poachers’ trails in the snow-covered area. An additional, but no less important task was to control the territory to prevent the emergence of wild fires. Since poachers began to use special devices to detect wild ungulates at night, vehicle patrols along the Slavyanka - Zanadvorovka federal highway were carried out to identify cars of alleged offenders. At that time, half of the team carried out daytime foot patrols in areas such as: Narva river, Filippovka, Ovchinnikovo villages, Kedrovaya Pad Nature Reserve to make sure there are no intruders. A large number of leopard and tiger tracks were registered during these months.

Rangers, together with the police, revealed two difficult cases of illegal hunting in the protected area. Wild boar and roe deer were killed by poachers. Thanks to the well-coordinated work, the employees of the national park were able to conduct an independent investigation in the shortest possible time, to detect the addresses and names of the violators.

The abundance of ungulates in the national park is a factor that increases the risk of poaching. State inspectors conduct daily law-enforcement patrols to prevent poaching. However, the vast territory of the Land of the Leopard, which is more than 369 thousand hectares, leaves some violators a chance to commit a crime, but they still cannot escape justice.

Two cases of illegal hunting were investigated in just two days. The first violation was revealed in the area of the Filippovka village, where the skin of a wild boar killed with a firearm was found by the rangers. In the second case, on the border with the Kedrovaya Pad nature reserve, the inspectors chased a poacher's car, which managed to escape. A dead roe deer was found at the site of illegal night hunting.

Although the poachers managed to escape the scene of the crime, the inspectors of the Land of the Leopard conducted an independent administrative investigation and managed to reveal the names of the violators and their addresses in a few hours. On the basis of the data obtained promptly, the inspectors carried out operational-search measures together with the Khasansky District Department of Internal Affairs. A search at both addresses revealed the suspects' involvement in the poaching.

Now the police are taking a set of measures aimed at establishing all the circumstances of the incidents. A number of studies have been scheduled, based on the results of which a decision will be made in accordance with the legislation of the Russian Federation. The sanction of Article 258 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation "Illegal hunting in a specially protected natural area" provides for liability in the form of imprisonment for up to two years.

Meanwhile, the results of research conducted by specialists of the Land of the Leopard national park showed that the Amur leopards have expanded their range three times compared to the beginning of the century. The information was obtained for the first time thanks to the generalization of long-term scientific materials.

Due to the habitat destruction, the range of the animal has decreased by more than 35 times by the beginning of the 21st century. The small population of Amur leopards survived only in the south-west of Primorsky Krai - the last remaining 30 individuals in the world inhabited only 223 300 hectares of territory. After taking measures to preserve the leopard, its numbers began to recover.

Today this unique animal lives in all forest areas in the southwest of Primorsky Krai - 460,000 hectares. In addition to about 100 leopards, the protected area is home to 30 Amur tigers, up to 22,000 sika deer, roe deer and wild boars. Large predators are an indicator of the state of the ecosystem: if the number of big cats is stable, if they feel comfortable, then the whole nature is healthy.

It is important to note that the Amur leopard is the most peaceful of all leopard subspecies, the only one that never attacks humans, and the expansion of its range not pose a threat to people. We thank you for the support of our conservation project and happy to share these great news with you!

(c) Phoenix Fund
(c) Phoenix Fund
(c) Phoenix Fund
(c) Phoenix Fund
Jan 27, 2021

Eco-lessons in Rodnichok

(c) Phoenix Fund
(c) Phoenix Fund

In the reported months we decided to use your generous donations to support ecological club Rodnichok. The Khasan district where Rodnichok Ecological Centre property is situated is very rich in biodiversity. Experienced educator and Phoenix Fund want to safeguard and encourage this diversity, which is a key feature in attracting local communities to nature conservation. Although Rodnichok is a place-based ecological learning center in Slavyanka village, the educator regularly visits spread out villages of Khasan giving ecological lessons to schoolchildren of Zarubino, Zanadvorovka, Vityaz and other villages.

Center’s programs connect to the school general education curriculum while encouraging learners to go deeper, immersing themselves in the natural world to feel, understand and act for the environment.

During the reported period the educator conducted 17 ecological events for 350 children and 12 teachers. The highlight of the lessons was a theme of forest fires and their prevention which is part of the educational program developed by the Phoenix Fund. The educator used a mascot - a little dragon called Dym Dymych (Smoke Smokey) - similar to Smokey Bear in the US to educate kids about the importance to protect forest from fires.

For the children of the elementary school, the lessons began with listening to the Dym Dymych’s song. The children tried got acquainted with the legend and found the answer to the question of how a fire occurs in a forest. During the conversation, the kids come to the conclusion that the main cause of a fire in the forest is unreasonable human behavior and that the rules of behavior in nature must not only be known, but also followed. The educator also explained how to put out the fire correctly, if there was a need for breeding it.

The main goal of the lesson in the middle and senior levels of the school is to conduct a questionnaire. The lesson began with a conversation about the uniqueness of the nature of our region and the need to preserve it. Then the children were invited to get acquainted with the posters on the fire-fighting theme and the video "9 out of 10 fires are man-made". In a conversation after watching the videos, the children recalled the basic rules of behavior for forest fire prevention, algorithms of action when a forest fire is detected. Only after that, they were asked to fill out a questionnaire.

In November, a competition was held for the best forest fire prevention leaflet. 15 children took part in the competition. These posters were handed over to the Land of the Leopard national park.

The sports relay race "Protect the forest from fire" was held for first grade students. “Animals from the forest”, leopards, tiger, bear, chipmunks came to the children for physical education lesson. They said that a terrible villain had come to their taiga house and threatened to burn the entire forest, leaving only coals from the forest. But the children can save the forest by completing sports tasks together, answering the quiz questions correctly. Diligently and cleverly passed the relay will scare the villain, and the correct answers will deprive him of his strength. The guys took part in the relay with great pleasure, answered questions about forest dwellers and the rules of behavior in the forest. The lesson ended with a cheerful dance of children and animals.

(c) Phoenix Fund
(c) Phoenix Fund
(c) Phoenix Fund
(c) Phoenix Fund
 
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