Illegaly hunted game
In January 2014, the team carried out 23 anti-poaching patrols, some of which were conducted in cooperation with police officers. Also, the inspectors continued marking the border of the national park by setting up new signs. And as in previous months, they gave two lectures on careful attitude towards nature at school in Zarubino village.
On January 13, the team received information about a fire on Stolovaya hill in the Land of the Leopard National Park. Upon arrival, the inspectors discovered a large fire. Strong gusty wind blowing from sea to land and marshland with high and thick reeds hindered the efforts of the team to put out the fire. It took a few hours before it was extinguished. When examining the burned area, the inspectors determined that the fire was an act of arson. The fire burned about 45 hectares. On January 19, another fire was discovered near the Narva River. Thanks to prompt actions by the team, the fire did not spread deep into the forest and no damage was caused to the protected area. The burned area was about two hectares. The inspectors forwarded papers about the arson to Khasan police for further investigation. It is worth mentioning that due to the continued lack of adequate snow cover it was hard for the inspectors to reveal trespassing. That is why it was decided to increase the number of ambushes at places where poaching was most likely to occur. In January, the number of hunting out of a car increased. In this connection, the team had to show up regularly on public roads in order to prevent such violations.
In February, the team continued patrolling the protected area and adjacent hunting leases in order to prevent or reveal poaching and protect the area from forest fires. Overall, the inspectors carried out 24 patrols and extinguished four fires. Due to increased number of fires inside the national park, in order to be able to respond promptly, effectively and safely to wildfires it was decided to reduce the distance of foot patrols and patrol mostly in areas where fires were likely to occur. Also, they gave three lectures on careful attitude towards nature at schools in Zanadvorovka and Barabash villages. In addition, the team set up information signs and repaired a patrol vehicle.
During night patrol on February 14 near Narvinsky firing range, the team saw a beam of light. When approaching to the light, the inspectors saw people who were casting “an artificial light” from their car hoping to shoot a deer. After a pursue, resistance by poachers and a fight, the violators with a rifled carbine were detained and taken to Khasan police station for further investigation. A criminal case was initiated under the Article 258 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation.
In March, the team of central subordination continued patrolling the protected area in order to prevent and reveal any violations of environmental laws. Most patrols were carried out during daylight hours due to high fire-risk season. Sometimes, the patrols were conducted in cooperation with specialists of Krainovsky nature reserve and gamekeepers of adjacent hunting leases. In all, the team carried out 22 patrols, extinguished 11 forest fires and gave two lectures on nature conservation for schoolchildren.
As it was mentioned above, besides protecting the Park from poachers, the team paid special attention to prevent ignitions. In all, eleven forest fires were detected and put out both in the Park and adjacent territory. According to the team’s leader, all fires were set deliberately. And the areas were fires took place remained the same as in previous fire seasons: Bezverkhovsky firing range (the Upper Pugachevka river), territory around Bamburovo railway station, Berabash, Primorsky and Ovchinnikovo villages.
On March 1, while patrolling the team detected a forest fire near the Verkhnye Brusya river and promptly put it out. The fire burned a 100x20 m area. On March 4, a fire was extinguished in cottage village near Bamburovo railway station. The fire burned an area estimated at 30 meters. On March 6, the team together with inspectors from other teams put out a fire on the Narvensky pass. The fire burned over 6 hectares. On March 9, a forest fire on 12 km of Barabash-Primorsky highway was promptly extinguished. The fire burned about 10 hectares. On March 10, while patrolling along a railway, the inspectors detected a fire on the adjacent hunting lease. As there was a risk of fire spread from the hunting lease to the national park, it was decided to extinguish the fire immediately. The fire was put out quickly. On March 13, a fire was put out near a railway bridge over the Narva river. On March 19, in cooperation with inspectors from other teams a fire was extinguished on Narvinsky firing range. The fire burned the area estimated at 4 hectares. From March 24 to March 26, the team together with volunteer fire fighters and foresters extinguished a forest fire started on the adjacent area near the Poima river. Swampy terrain with thick stands of tall reeds and strong and gusty wind blowing toward the national park hindered their efforts. The firefighters struggled several hours before the fire was put out. The fire burned a 3 kmx2km area. On March 28, while patrolling near Narvinsky firing range, the team detected a fire and put it out at promptly. The fire burned about 8 hectares. On March 30, the team detected a fire on Narvinsky firing range again and put it out at once.
In April, most patrols were aimed at prevention of forest fires. The team patrolled day and night. Sometimes the patrols were carried out in cooperation with inspectors from other anti-poaching teams and officers from military forestry. In all, the team conducted 23 patrols.
On April 11, the team received information about ignition in the Park near Pozharsky railway station. Upon arrival on the scene, the team with colleagues from other AP teams discovered a burned area estimated at 1.5 km. Only after four-hour struggle, the fire was put out. On April 12, the team detected a fire near the Semiverstka river. The inspectors together with other anti-poaching teams tried to extinguish the fire several times, but strong and gusty wind and thick smoke hindered their efforts. The inspectors took another try next morning but failed to put out the fire properly due to a strong wind. It was decided to patrol the area on a regular basis in order to prevent fire spread to other areas. In the evening, the team was informed about another forest fire started near the Poima river. All Park’s teams were deployed there. It took four hours before the fire was put out. But due to dry and windy weather grass fires ignited again and again. It was decided to patrol the area on a regular basis too. In all, the fire burned an area estimated at 12 hectares. As no ignitions was detected since April 15, the inspectors were deployed to other spot to help put out a fire that started on April 17. The fire burned about 4,000 hectares. On April 18, when patrolling along Barabash-Primorsky highway, the team detected a fire and put it out promptly. About 1 hectare burned. On April 27, at noon the team was informed about a forest fire near Bamburovo railway station. Upon arrival on the scene, the inspectors saw that dry brush and gusty winds made the perfect conditions for fire spread to the area of the national park. The fire was put out only at 5 a.m. of the next day, but blazes appeared again and kept spreading with every wind gust. Thanks to help of foresters, the fire was finally localized at 1 p.m.