By Victoria Molchanova - Projects Coordinator, Phoenix Fund
A week ago I headed south to see how the leopards were doing, escaped from the city for a weekend to the place I love the most – Khasan district. The spring always comes to this lands first. There's no snow, rivers broke up, faded grass covers the hills, and for half an hour you can stay outside without a jacket on. But this early spring brings early dangers. The head of the South team who also lead the fire-fighting brigade in the Leopard Land reported that the forest fires started almost a month earlier than usually. I saw that for myself. Once-exuberant landscape came to resemble a burnt desert. I stared at black hills and adust trees with great sorrow imagining how uninhabitable this place is now for the few remained leopards.
As one may know, conservation of endangered animals nowadays should be complex in every possible way. For years the Phoenix Fund struggles for the survival of the Amur leopard and espouse the ecological cause. We realize that anti-poaching alone won't save the world's most peaceful predator. Education and outreach, compensation for damage caused by predators to livestock, resolution of conflicts, habitat protection and forest fire-fighting are vital activities implemented by Phoenix.
A week later a new well-equipped and motivated fire-fighting team successfully extinguished fresh fire in the leopard habitat. With the recent fire-fighting project started by Phoenix in Khasan the home of the leopard would be safe under watchful eye of firemen.
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