Wildlife Conservation Society- Russia Program
Project Name: Monitoring Amur Leopards in the Russian Far East
Location: Primorye, Russia
Goal: Monitor Amur leopard and tiger populations in southwest Primorye
Objective 1: Continue to conduct camera trap activities in our long-term study area in Nezhinskoe Hunting Lease and in the northern sector of Land of the Leopard National Park.
Objective 2: Work in conjunction with national park staff and other organizations to solidify the survey protocols and results for the entire Land of the Leopard National Park.
Objective 3: Expand the network of cameras to better survey and estimate numbers of tigers in Land of the Leopard National Park.
Objective 4: Continue coordinating with the park to develop a database of camera-trapped leopards and tigers for the entirety of southwest Primorye that can be used yearly to identify individuals.
Objective 5: Continue to reach out to Chinese partners to exchange information on individual tigers and leopards (through use of standardized camera trap databases) to explore movements of these cats across the international border.
Objective 6: Expand our database to include data on all species to increase the value of camera traps as indicators of biodiversity.
Background: The Wildlife Conservation Society’s Russia program has been monitoring Amur leopards using camera traps since 2003. Camera trapping allows us to identify individual leopards by their unique pelage characteristics and thereby monitor individual animals over many years, estimate population density and trends over time, and learn about rates of population turnover. In 2014 we developed a joint plan with Land of the Leopard National Park (LLNP) to expand camera trapping activities to the entirety of the park. In total, when considered in conjunction with the work of our partners, camera traps now cover 2,618 km2, or approximately 75% of all leopard habitat in Russia. In 2015 we will continue these efforts and attempt to solidify the park-wide survey protocols and monitoring system, as well as continue to reach out to partners on the Chinese side to improve information exchange. We will also attempt to expand the network of camera traps within LLNP to more accurately estimate tiger numbers.
The interim report for this project can be found here