Project #6144

Help Save Last 30 Amur Leopards from Extinction

by Phoenix Fund
Arrested poacher
Arrested poacher

In June, the South team of the Land of the Leopard protected area conducted 23 anti-poaching patrols in order to prevent and detect any crimes in the protected area and adjacent territories. Most of patrols were carried out on the southern part of Leopardovy Wildlife Refuge and south-western part of Kedrovaya Pad Nature Reserve. 

While patrolling the assigned territory, at twilight night on June 26 the team spotted a group of people hunting illegally with the use of spotlight in Kedrovaya Pad Nature Reserve. After a short pursuit, the inspectors caught one of the violators with a headlight in his hands. But his mate put up resistance, used his firearm threatening and shooting in the direction of the inspectors, and finally managed to escape. The detained poacher was taken to Khasan police station for further investigation. No other violations were revealed in June.

In addition to anti-poaching activities, the South team continued supplying salt to the salt-licks and setting up information boards and warning signs along the borders of Leopardovy Wildlife Refuge, especially in areas where a huge influx of tourists and holidaymakers was expected.

Besides, the inspectors gathered information on the presence of wildlife. Thus, they found leopard tracks (6.3 cm paw width) on the north-western border of Kedrovaya Pad Nature Reserve. Also, they heard tiger roaring within a distance of 30 meters during a foot patrol along the Upper Brusya River.

There was a call from a farmer who informed about a leopard attack on his calf. The team went to the scene to verify the obtained information. Upon arrival at the deer farm, the inspectors could not find positive proof of livestock depredation.  

In May for the first time the Boarder team of Leopardovy Wildlife Refuge actually worked behind engineering structures of the Russian-Chinese boarder. The area is a habitat of the Amur leopards and its protection from Chinese poachers is a highest priority for the law-enforcement team.

Although there were difficulties that arose from the need to obtain a permission to enter the territory the Boarder team finally got it and patrolled the area for eight days in the reported month. Such a short time, however, allowed the inspectors to scope out the present situation “behind the fence”.

During the joint patrols with frontier guards the team revealed five camps (bivouacs) of Chinese ginseng roots collectors, four hidden spired metallic whips (presumable for sticking the animals) and found a fernbrakes procurement. Twice the team tried to detain pickers but because of piecemeal actions of frontiers the violators managed to escape to Chinese boarder. The team will now work to coordinate their actions with the frontier guards to avoid such situations.

Also in May the team exchanged experience in law-enforcement with the staff of Kronodsky nature reserve that came to the Land of the Leopard from Kamchatka.

All in all, in the reported period the Boarder team conducted 32 patrols, covered 843 km on the vehicle, 114 km on foot and 73 km on ATV, ambuscaded for eight and the half hours.

We would like thank all of our GlobalGiving supporters who make the leopard protection possible!

Good news for everyone who stands for Amur leopard protection!

On April 5th, at the meeting of the Russian Geographical Society in Saint Petersburg Prime-minister Putin announced creation of the new protected area, which will cover 60% of all remaining habitat of the Amur leopard.

By resolution of the government of the Russian Federation, the Land of the Leopard National Park was established on 261,868 hectares in the southwest of Primorye.

This big protected landscape has the capacity to ensure the survival of the rarest wild cat on earth. It is important that the park includes most of the breeding areas which leopards use over the years.

Spring fire-hazardous season began in Khasan district early this year.

The ignition started on March 20 near the borders of the protected leopard habitat made everyone worried. For three days 2 brigades of 7 people - employees of the Kedrovaya Pad Nature Reserve and volunteer team, both supported by Phoenix Fund - extinguished wildland fire without sleep and rest.

Fires are not rare in this area. However today we witness only the preview of the real fires that will begin on March 24 when the season of hunting for the waterfowl will open. Hunters occasionally forget to extinguish fires, throw smoldering cigarettes, and therefore cause numerous ignitions," – says Sergei Khohryakov, director of Kedrovaya Pad.

Leopards are clever. As soon as there is a danger, they migrate to safer place. According to ecologists, such wildland fires don't do much harm, neither to people nor to animals. The biggest harm is emission of carbon dioxide that pollutes the atmosphere.

At Phoenix Fund we consider protection of the leopard habitat from destructive forest fires as our priority. During the years we provided support for fire-fighting activities in Leopardovy Wildlife Refuge and Kedrovaya Pad Reserve, including funds, equipment and qualified man power. Although it is almost impossible to avoid wild fires in the district we are glad to report that common efforts of inspectors, volunteers and NGOs resulted in quick extinguishment of fires and minimal damage caused to nature.

Th year 2012 started with an intense work of the South anti-poaching team that patrolled the core leopard breeding area. In total in January the team conducted 27 anti-poaching checks including joint patrols with gamekeepers of adjacent hunting estates across the territory of both Kedrovaya Pad nature reserve and Leopardovy wildlife refuge. The inspectors carried out vehicle patrols along with foot patrols during the day time but also laid ambushes at nights.  

Absence of snow in the southern part of Leopardovy wildlife refuge and in adjacent territories caused periodical forest ignitions. Three forest fires were put out on the territory of Lebyazhya lagoon outside the nature reserve and in Leopardovy refuge around railway station Pozharsky. The inspectors successfully suppressed all ignitions preventing significant loss in wildlife and leopard habitat.

The expected splash of poaching on a southern part of the wildlife refuge and reserve was not registered. During the spot-checks no infringers involved in illegal hunting were detained. But nevertheless rare presence of people in territory of the PA was revealed. On January 22, an abandoned rifle was found near a river head of the Poima river. Most likely, the given weapon was dumped by poachers after they noticed the patrol car from towering hills. Also the fresh tracks of people were found on the northern slopes. The weapon was handed over to Khasansky Police department for the further trial and detection of the owner of the gun.

The leader of the team Evgeny Stoma explains the low numbers of poaching citations in the reported month: “First of all, certainly, this indicates a poaching decrease in southern territory. Those poachers groups that continue to conduct illegal hunting at wildlife refuge territories became even more careful. And detention of such organized groups requires a long and thorough preparation in which the South team is now actively engaged.”


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Organization Information

Phoenix Fund

Location: Vladivostok, Primorski Krai - Russia
Website: http:/​/​​en/​
Project Leader:
Sergei Bereznuk
Vladivostok, Primorsky krai Russia
$60,029 raised of $100,000 goal
1,321 donations
$39,971 to go
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