The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) has the clear mission to save wildlife and wild places across the globe. Since 1992 WCS has been studying wildlife populations in the Sikohte-Alin region of the Russian Far East, home to the Amur tiger.
Amur tigers need vast territories as the habitat supports low prey densities. A female Amur tiger’s territory is approximately 175 sq miles with a male’s being much larger. But as less than 15 per cent of the Sikhote-Alin region is protected, conservation-based management of the entire region is essential, both inside and outside protected areas.
WCS has helped design a network of protected areas linking key tiger habitat across the Russian Far East mountain ecosystem. Connectivity will hopefully be extended into Northeast China to help the tiger population recover there too.
The tiger population status is monitored using camera trap photography and WCS are also heavily involved in anti-poaching, firefighting and when necessary they assist local government officials to alleviate tiger-human conflicts.
WCS additionally monitors Amur leopard numbers by using camera traps. This work will be extended into China in 2012 which will give us the first clear indication of the Amur leopard population there.
WCS are also involved in the wildlife health project and teams comprising members of WCS, ZSL and WVI carry out leopard and tiger trapping in order to assess the health of individuals which gives an idea of how the populations as a whole may be faring.
For more information on WCS’ work in the Russian far East see their website.