(c) Land of the Leopard National Park
Dear supporters, as you alredy know the number of Amur leopards and their cubs is growing steadily and we cannot thank you enough for your invaluable support of our project. The collected funds were provided to the law-enforcement team of the Land of the Leopard National Park to ensure proper protection of the rare animals' habitat from poachers. Below we would like to present the efforts of the supported team that assured the growing leopard numbers.
Since the beginning of 2016, the team of central subordination carried out 132 patrols in the Land of the Leopard National Park, revealed five violations, confiscated a rifle and rescued a tiger cub.
In January 2016, the team of central subordination patrolled the territories of the Land of the Leopard National Park in order to prevent and reveal wildlife crimes and other violations. Due to abundant snowfalls in mid-January the team has to patrol mostly by snowmobiles or on foot along the rutted driveway. In all, the team carried out 19 anti-poaching patrols inside the protected areas and on the adjacent territories. In the beginning of January, the rangers of the Central team together with their colleagues helped with the search of orphaned tiger cubs near Filippovka and Barabash villages. On January 4, the rangers together with border guards conducted a joint patrol at frontier stations in a border protection zone between Russia and China. No violations were revealed. In general, signs of people presence in the protected area were found rather rarely in January. It can be concluded that there are positive changes in protection regime of the national park.
In February, the team spent much time to learn to fly a quadcopter DJI Phantom 2+ in winter conditions. The flights were mostly under the territory of Land of the Leopard National Park. Some photographs of woodland and other objects were taken during the test flights. In general, the team patrolled on foot. No violations were revealed, however the inspectors discovered foot prints in snow in very rare cases. As it snowed several times in February, the team conducted a few patrols on snowmobiles. During one of such patrols, the inspectors discovered tiger tracks (11.5 cm paw width) leading from the Narva River to Zolotoy stream. In all, the team carried out 21 anti-poaching patrols.
On February 24, the team members together with specialists of Rosprirodnadzor conducted joint flights over sea ports of Vladivostok in order to reveal pollution sources in the Golden Bay. As a result, a few oil spills were revealed. The photos and video were given to the specialists of Rosprirodnadzor.In the end of month, the team prepared for competition that took place in Chaibanschan Nature Reserve, China. The inspectors practiced to install camera traps, to work with GPS units and to use SMART software. Together with colleagues from Education Department of the national park, the inspectors took field trips to study wildlife tracks and other signs of their activity.
In March, the team varied out 23 patrols. In early March, the team mostly patrolled on foot from Bezverkhovsky pass to the Brusya River. Such patrols were carried out regularly right after the fact of discovering signs of unauthorized presence of people (foot prints) there. On March 2, the team went to participate in the competition that was to be held in Changbaishan National Nature Reserve on March 9. All in all, eleven anti-poaching teams (nine from China, and two from Russia) took part in the competition. The second Russian team was presented by the law enforcement staff of Sikhote-Alin Biosphere Nature Reserve. At first, the teams competed in orientation in the field, installation of camera traps, observation of wildlife tracks and identification of plants. Then, the teams used PowerPoint presentations to report on their anti-poaching activities. The team from Land of the Leopard National Park was ranked first.
In March, the team of central subordination in cooperation with the South team patrolled the area near Khasan Lake in order to prevent illegal hunting during spring migration of waterfowl. Near the frontier post #39 the inspectors found signs of human presence and geese hunting. No violators were revealed.
Also, the team conducted numerous foot patrols. During one of them, the inspectors discovered a leopard track (7 cm paw width).
In April, the team continued patrolling the assigned area in order to prevent and reveal wildlife violations and protect the national park from forest fires. In early April, the inspectors mostly patrolled on foot. In all, 24 patrols were carried out. While patrolling near Narvinsky pass, Ovchinikovo and Filippovka villages, the team discovered leopard and tiger tracks. On April 7, the team conducted a joint patrol with the Central team and installed Land of the Leopard National Park name signs. Before the start of the fire season, the team members participated in special training in general firefighting techniques and administrative law. From April 15, the team began patrolling the areas by a quadbike in order to catch motorcyclists who illegally entered the protected area to hunt. While patrolling, the inspectors discovered two trails of tiger tracks. On the one trail they identified tracks left by a tigress and three cubs. On April 21, during a joint patrol the team found three artificial salt-licks made illegally inside the protected area. Two of them were abandoned, but the one was likely to be used by poachers. It was decided to make ambushes near it in order to apprehend violators. On April 27, during a quadbike patrol the team discovered a fire between Barabash and Ovchinikovo villages. The fire was extinguished promptly. On April 30, the team patrolled on foot from the Brusya River to Bezverkhovsky pass in order to check the salt-licks discovered before and to reveal illegal presence of people there. No sing of human activity was spotted there, but there were plenty of tracks left by ungulates.
In May, the team carried on patrolling the assigned area to prevent and reveal wildlife violations. In all, the inspectors carried out 22 patrols. In May, Roman Israfilov, a new member joined the team. During the first half of the month, the team mostly patrolled on foot and by a quadbike. In early May, there were a few forest fires. One of them occurred on May 6 near Bezverkhovo village right in front of the railway crossing. The team together with the colleagues from other Park’s anti-poaching teams suppressed the fire.
Also, in May there was a meeting between law enforcement staff of the national park and police officers in order to schedule their joint patrols.
As more and more citizens of China illegally penetrate the Russian Federation to gather fern, a number of joint patrols with border guards was scheduled in a border protection zone between Russia and China. The first patrol was to be held on May 25-26, and the second one on May 30-31. The main objectives of the patrols were to find any signs of illegal presence of Chinese people in Russia and to detain violators.
During the second half of the month, the patrols were mostly conducted by UAZ vehicle along the Narva River, Ovchinnikovo and Filippovka villages. While patrolling along the Narva River, the team apprehended two men for unauthorized presence and issued administrative citations upon the violators. On May 27, the inspectors detain a man with an illegal rifle who made an ambush to hunt at a salt lick. The violator was taken to Khasansky police station for further investigation and prosecution.
On May 16, the inspectors detained a group of Korean people for gathering fern in the national park. It was determined that they worked in Vladivostok and came into the park specially to pick up the plants. The Koreans were handed over to border guards.
Also, the team visited the Centre for Rehabilitation and Reintroduction of Tigers and Other Rare Animals to assist in taking video footage of enclosures with the use of a quadcopter. The footage will be used in a documentary about an Amur leopard kept at the Centre. During the flight over the enclosure, the camera captured the leopard.
On May 30, two armed men were arrested for unauthorized presence in the Park. The violators intended to hunt at artificial salt-licks they had made earlier. The inspectors seized illegal rifles and cartridges and forwarded all the materials to Khasansky police station for further investigation. Hunting is strictly prohibited in the Park, The violators face a fine up to 200 thousand rubles or correctional labor up to two years.
“Hunting at salt licks is famous hunting method among poachers”, says Evgeny Stoma, Deputy Director of the Land of the Leopard National Park. “Luckily, inspectors managed to apprehend the violators with rifles just in time to prevent killing animals. We hope that the poachers will get proper punishment”.
In June, the team spent much time to repair the patrol car. As a result, the inspectors patrolled mostly on foot. In all, the team carried out 23 anti-poaching patrols. While patrolling, the team found a few tiger and leopard tracks. Among the tracks, there were ones supposedly belonged to a leopardess and cubs.
In July, the team was patrolling the territory mostly on foot and conducted several joint patrols with frontier guards. Five minor violation were revealed during this month.
The patrol work in August and September was focused on detaining illegal fishersdue to the start of fishing season. No cases of illegal hunting were revealed.
The team will continue their important anti-poaching work and make sure the Amur leopards feel safe within the borders of the national park.
(c) Land of the Leopard National Park
(c) Land of the Leopard National Park