About 500 Amur tigers are left in the wild, with 95% of them in the Russian Far East. Within the tiger’s range in Russia, Sikhote-Alin has been a stronghold for the Amur tiger and harbors over 50 individuals today.
The goal of the Save Wild Tigers of Sikhote-Alin Project was to improve protection of Amur tigers using the SMART law enforcement monitoring system, and providing incentives for rangers to improve their efforts. In 2018 the law-enforcement teams continued carrying out regular anti-poaching and habitat protection patrols using SMART. As a result of anti-poaching efforts in the first half of 2018, 14 violations were revealed, including 1 case of poaching, one rifle was seized. We are glad to report that much less serious violations, such as illegal hunting or fishing, were revealed in the project site. Unauthorized presence was the most common violation. Overall patrol quality remains good and we witness a continuing diminishing dependency on technical and management assistance from us.
To achieve the long-term conservation goal we conducted educational programs, like Tiger Day Festival in Terney, ecological lessons and actions for children and adults to teach the value of tigers and forests. In 2018 we carried out 205 ecological actions and classes for 2575 children and 222 adults in Terneisky district.
Another long-term goal was training young professionals to ensures the conservation work will continue in the future. During the project implementation we provided support to the Sikhote-Alin Research Center, which serves as a training ground for promising Russian graduate students in wildlife biology and biodiversity conservation. Russian students based at the center conduct research jointly with foreign graduate students, with supervision from WCS and Sikhote-Alin Zapovednik scientific staff, maximizing opportunity for cultural, linguistic, and scientific exchange, and improving the skills needed for young Russian and Western ecologists to establish themselves in the international conservation arena.
Since October 2016, 137 people have been trained there. In 2018, workshops on spatially explicit capture-recapture (SECR), QGIS, public speaking and population ecology were conducted. Students at the Sikhote-Alin Research Center also participated extensively in radio-telemetry, tracking and capture activities, all conducted as part of the Siberian Tiger Project. This work with graduate students is a vital stepping stone in building local capacity in the Russian Far East, and in ensuring that there will be a group of Russian professionals capable of carrying on science and conservation in the region.
(c) Phoenix Fund