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

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.

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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!

Jul 15, 2015

Amur leopard got to the Rehab!

(c) Inspection Tiger
(c) Inspection Tiger

As some of our followers may already know from the newsletter on leopard project, a cub of Amur leopard was recently saved from inevitable death and transported to the Rehabilitation Center in Alekseevka village.

The one year old kitten 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. After numerous medical treatments the animal felt much better! It has successfully settled in the new spacious enclosure of the rehab. During the first three days, the cub managed to catch a rabbit, and, judging by the footage from video cameras, is in good physical shape.

We remind that in June 2015 Russian border guards found the cub at the Russian-Chinese frontier. 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. 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 was satisfactory. Veterinarians from around the world were involved in the discussion on the further treatment for the animal.

Although, this cub will most probably never return to the wild, the time it will spend in the Rehabilitation Center is important for its survival. And in future the leopard will have a chance to participate in the Amur leopard breeding program. 

Thank you dear friends for your generous donations to rehabilitation project! You help the most vulnerable rare cats, injured and orphaned cubs receive a chance for healthy life.

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