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.
Oct 29, 2012

New needs of the Rehabilitation Center

Cinderella in the Rehabilitation Center
Cinderella in the Rehabilitation Center

In Russia, for many years tiger specialists used two facilities for tigers in need, namely Utyos Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre and Dr.Yudin's facility which for several reasons did not meet necessary requirements for wildlife care. For example, Utyos Centre is located in Khabarovksy krai, and it takes up to 8-10 hours to transport an injured animal from Primorye. Consequently, it was crucial to build an adequate rehabilitation center in Primorye in order to ensure cubs’ survival and successful release back into the wild. In 2011, the Russian Government allocated funds to construct Amur Tiger Rehabilitation Center in Primorye. A remote wood lot of three hectares, the most suitable site for semi-free-ranging animals where "patients" would not be disturbed by visitors, was chosen near Alekseevka village, Nadezhdinsky district of Primorsky krai. In 2012, after one-year construction works a new rehabilitation center for Amur tigers and other wildlife finally opened wide its doors to wild animals that cannot survive in the wild without man’s help.  The specialists were ready to nurse cubs, teach them to hunt and fear humans to make the release possible and safe for both animals and humans living in tiger habitat. And in April 2012 a young Amur tigress named “Cinderella” became the first resident of the center.

The main construction work has been completed, although there is some extra work to be done. For example, at the moment it is crucial to set up a video monitoring system along the perimeter of the facility so that the center’s caretakers could monitor animal’s behavior. The video system and the computer system that supports it would give the opportunity to observe and learn from the patients. Center’s caretakers will often need to observe the animals to monitor their recovery, without causing more stress on them by entering the enclosure. Video monitoring is ideal for this. Video clips can be used by center’s caretakers, veterinarians, and scientists as well as for educational purposes. Our intention is also to share some of the videos on our social media and website and also use them for some of the education programs we have developed for children and adults. Along with the advantages of observing patients and sharing the information, we are also hoping to include the system as part of a security to the property entrance so that we can provide a safe environment for the wildlife we are caring for.

Equipment and supplies

8 weather-proof high-resolution Ai-SD28 speed-dome cameras (anti-vandal model) need to be installed. Power supply devices, digital video recorder, keyboard controller, cables video transmitter, plugs, electricity distribution boxes, hard drive and fasteners have to be bought and used to assemble a video surveillance system.

Oct 29, 2012

Anti-poaching work from July to September

The team at work
The team at work

In July, the South team carried out 27 anti-poaching patrols. When patrolling on the assigned area, the inspectors revealed the following violations:

On July 8, two men were detained in Leopardovy WR for violating the article 8.39 of Administrative Offences Code of the Russian Federation, i.e. violating rules for protection and use of natural resources in areas under special protection. On July 9, another man was apprehended in the same area in connection with the same violation. On July 15, two more villagers were stopped near the Narva River in Leopardovy WR and were issued administrative citations pursuant to the article 8.39 of Administrative Offences Code of the Russian Federation. On July 26, two locals were detained for violating rules of the Leopardovy WR. All these violations were revealed on the protected area near spawning areas of the Narva and Poima Rivers, which indicates that despite its strictly protected status, this area still attracts local community during salmon spawning season. People kept visiting these places despite high probability of being caught and punished. Given these conditions, the team leader decided to focus the team’s attention on these areas. Almost every day, the team conducted boat patrols along the spawning rivers in the southern part of the protected area in order to detain violators catching salmon with the use of spears and harpoon guns at daytime and with fishing nets at night. It is worth mentioning that most violations such as illegal setting of fishing nets were revealed near a camp of road construction workers who were building Narvinsky pass.  Unfortunately, the team did not catch a worker red-handed and could not charge anyone with those violations. The inspectors had a talk with a foreman and asked to prevent such violations in future.  

The same situation happened on the neighboring Bezverhovsky military firing ground. Servicemen supposedly set nets in the Narva River, and unfortunately nobody was caught red-handed yet.

On July 12, the team members participated in face-to-face interrogation regarding the poaching case revealed in June. During the interrogation the charged offender denied categorically his involvement in night hunt.

In August, the South team carried out 26 anti-poaching patrols. August is known as salmon-spawning season that is why the team focused its attention on areas where spawning rivers run. Intensive patrolling on the spawning rivers did not reveal any violation. One of the main reasons could be the almost total absence of typhoons that did not let the salmon make their way up to the Narva and Poima rivers and other streams to spawn. Accordingly, the rivers did not attract much attention of violators. Additionally, constant presence of the team in the area suppressed poaching activities there.

Besides patrolling along the rivers, the team continued patrolling the forest where people were expected to appear in search for ginseng roots or other wild plants. The inspectors checked areas of woodland that were frequented by poachers before. Acting on a tip-off, the team took measures to catch violators who were gathering ginseng roots in the China-Russia border region. Unfortunately, the “ginseng diggers” managed to escape.

In September, the team conducted 26 anti-poaching patrols and issued 14 administrative citations. While patrolling the inspectors were charged with prevention illegal hunting, gathering wild plants and fishing. The team patrolled along the spawning rivers and deep in the forest where people were expected to appear in search for ginseng roots or other wild plants or animals.

On September 1-9, two men were stopped and fined for illegal presence in Leopardovy Wildlife Refuge.

On September 11, during an ambush at night the inspectors detained two violators who illegally entered the protected area. From September 12 to September 25, nine local people were apprehended for illegal presence in Leopardovy Wildlife Refuge.

Besides anti-poaching activities, the team members also gave a lecture with schoolchildren in Vityaz village.   

Oct 29, 2012

One ATV finally bought for Zov Tigra

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. ”

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