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 12, 2015

The leopard will get a chance for reintroduction!

(c) Land of the Leopard National Park
(c) Land of the Leopard National Park

The victim of poachers, Amur leopard Leo 80M is taking the final stage of rehabilitation, after which he will be ready to be released into the wild nature. This conclusion has been reached by experts of the Scientific and Technical Council of the Land of the Leopard National Park.

The male of the rarest big cat of the world was found in the territory of the National Park “Land of the Leopard” close to the border with China in June 2015. He had lost three fingers on the front paw hitting a poacher’s trap. The animal underwent surgery, and then began to recover quickly. Soon, relocation of the animal took place to an enclosure of the Center for rehabilitation and reintroduction of tigers and other rare animals. For almost three months, experts have been watching behaviour of the leopard and how the leopard is hunting to determine whether he is ready to return to the wild.
The future of leopard became the central issue of the Scientific and Technical Council of the “Land of the Leopard” meeting this week. In addition to the Council members, experts in the behavior of cats were invited to attend, as well as representatives of the environmental authorities of Primorsky region. Specialist of the Center for rehabilitation Ekaterina Blidchenko told the audience about observations of the predator. According to her, in spite of the injured paw, the predator has no problems with hunting and has already shown good skills.

“The leopard is physically well developed, has instant reaction and will, most likely, have no problems with hunting - said Ekaterina Blidchenko. – The injured paw did not prevent him from climbing trees in the enclosure, exploring his territory. It is also important that he is a self-confident beast. He knows how to make decisions quickly and perfectly adapts to the new conditions. This means that the leopard will be able to compete with other leopards in the wild”.

At the same time Ekaterina noted that before release into the wild nature the leopard must undergo correction of undesirable behavior. This means that in order to secure an adequate for the animal fear of man, a step by step training course to be developed to prepare the beast for the wild nature. It may include scaring the animal with flares, loud noises and other methods.

Sixteen members of the Council present at the meeting have unanimously agreed that leopard Leo 80M must be returned to the wild. At the same time, the final decision of the animal’s future will be made by the Federal Service for Supervision of Natural Resources (Rosprirodnadzor). Prior to its obtaining, experts of the Council of the “Land of the Leopard” will determine the best time to release the rare carnivore to the nature and will also approve a series of measures to be taken in advance. Among them is a plan for monitoring movement of the leopard using a satellite collar, specification of the people responsible for this work and other organizational matters.

These are such a great news for all of our supporters who help us to maintain such rare animals in the Rehabilitation Center! Thanks to you, another rare cat that had a missfortune to suffer from humans will get a chance for a free life in natural habitat!

As you know, we always try to find new ways to ensure the survival of the rare Amur leopards and look for fund to implement our conservation projects in the field. We are very grateful for your support of our effort through GlobalGiving and we want to ask you for another favor!

Please vote for our project ‘Saving Amur leopards, Russia's Far East’ at http://www.outdoorconservation.eu/project-voting-category.cfm?catid=3

The voting has already started and will last online for two weeks.

We would be grateful if you also spread the word and let us get more supporters.

Links:

Oct 12, 2015

New level of protection

(c) Land of the Leopard National Park
(c) Land of the Leopard National Park

Evgeny Stoma, Deputy Director for Security of the Land of the Leopard National Perk, addressed the All-Russia meeting of natural reserve and national park directors and presented the unique expertise of using SMART program developed for monitoring of anti-poaching raids in the work of the Institution.

The All-Russia meeting of natural reserve and national park directors on challenges and opportunities of federal-status Specially Protected Natural Reservations (SPNR) system development started in Vladivostok on October 5, 2015. The event was organized by Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation and National Park “Land of the Leopard”.

A separate session of the meeting held in the Russky Island was dedicated to evaluation of performance of SPNR security service. CEOs of natural reserves discussed basic problems of management of inspectors’ activities and possible ways to solve them. Admittedly, in their work security departments should take into account increasing technical capabilities and competence of poachers. In this respect, Evgeny Stoma shared his views on how the new technologies can be used in the work of security department for best results.

Though having a lot of people, vehicles and equipment in security department is an important factor, they alone do not guarantee success yet. In order to understand the critical areas and to facilitate recording of operations and adaptive management of raids, SMART program has been used in the territory of National Park “Land of the Leopard” since 2010. This program is based on geographic information system and allows for analysis of territory patrolling operations.
SMART-like systems were first used in environmental inspectors’ work with the assistance of Phoenix Fund and WSC. Starting on a raid, the inspectors of “Land of the Leopard” switch on their GPS navigators which record the distances covered. Using SMART, the inspectors add any discovered violations to common database. This program also helps to indirectly monitor the abundance of rare animals, as in addition to “Raid Route” and “Violations” forms the inspectors on the spot using GPS must place a mark in “Tiger & Leopard” form if they find any traces of these felines’ vital activities.
“We hold a quarterly meeting dedicated to analysis of our work on SMART program, - says Evgeny Stoma. – At this meeting we analyze performance of both operational groups and individual inspectors. This gives an opportunity to determine the most important areas of national park for patrolling and to identify the inspectors worthy of a commendation. Of course, this program is not a cure-all solution, but it well deserves being called an effective tool in the work of a SPNR security service”.

This opinion is supported by data of results of inspectors’ work obtained for the last 4 years in the territory of National Park “Land of the Leopard”. As the number of raids grows, there are fewer violations discovered, and this fact serves as the main measure of effectiveness of security department’s work.

SMART that proved itself as an efficient system is being introduced into other SPNRs, too. At present, this program is adopted in 7 of 9 federal reserves and national parks of Russia where Amur tigers reside.

Links:

Sep 24, 2015

The number of Amur leopards has increased!

Sergei Ivanov, Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office and Chair of the Far Eastern Leopards Supervisory Board, said at the Eastern Economic Forum that the number of the Amur leopards, which only recently was below 30, has nearly tripled.

According to THE FAR EASTERN (Amur) LEOPARD PROGRAMME, there are at least 80 Amur leopards living in the wild worldwide. The researchers from Land of the Leopard National Park and Beijing Normal University arrived at this conclusion based on leopard photo monitoring data obtained both in Russia and China.

Earlier, Russian researchers operated using data obtained solely in Russia. According to photo monitoring and winter leopard track count, it became known in 2015 that there are about 70 spotted predators residing in Russia. However, no data on the number of leopards in China was available then.

"Of course, the fact that the global population size of the Amur leopard is higher is great news,” Environment Minister Sergei Donskoi said. “The fact that the leopard is now also living in China is the result of many years of work by Russian specialists. We hope that our Chinese colleagues will join us in these activities and will help bring the number of the Far Eastern leopards in the wild to a stable level, thus protecting this species from the threat of extinction."

That increase in leopard population became possible thanks to great attention attracted towards conservation of rare felines by Russian government, NGOs and international community.

However, it is due to highly effective work of law-enforcement rangers that the leopards are safe in the southwest Primorye. With your generous support the anti-poaching teams of the Land of the Leopard National Park were able to safeguard the leopards from poaching and other threats.

From June through August the team carried out 63 anti-poaching patrols in the Land of the Leopard national park in order to prevent poaching, forest fires and other violations and crimes on the assigned territory. The rangers focused on making night ambushes near salt licks using a decoy deer. There were no poachers in the park in the reported months and only a few minor violations were registered.

We hope that thanks to your continuous support we all be able to keep the numbers of Amur leopard growing!

 
   

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