Monitoring Amur Tigers and Leopards in Northeast China (WCS China)

Wildlife Conservation Society- China Program.

Project Name: Monitoring Amur Tiger and Leopard Populations in Northeast China

Location: Hunchun Nature Reserve, Jilin Province, China

Goal: The goal of this project is to improve the reliability of population estimates of Amur leopards and tigers in Hunchun Nature Reserve.

Objective 1: Ensure continuity in camera trap monitoring of Amur leopards and tigers in and around Hunchun Nature Reserve.
Objective 2: Snow track Amur leopards and tigers to glean information about movements and behaviour, and to provide information about where to set camera traps.
Objective 3: Work with WCS Russia to promote transboundary big cat conservation between China and Russia.

Background: Both Amur tigers and Amur leopards are reliant on human interventions to recover their populations in the wild. The future of these big cats in northeast China in particular remains uncertain, even after recent estimates found as many as 27 tigers and 42 leopards there. Tiger and leopard conservation has become a prominent issue recently, and it was even included in the latest, federal-level Chinese national development strategy plan. The Government of China has indicated upcoming investments in big cat conservation in northeast China over the next decade.
In order to evaluate the effectiveness of the conservation plans currently being developed, it is essential to have statistically rigorous monitoring systems in place to objectively quantify the responses of tigers, leopards, and their prey to these interventions. Camera trap monitoring is one such system. Thanks to funding from the Amur Leopard and Tiger Alliance, WCS China and our partners now have four years of continuous monitoring data for the most important big cat entry point into China from Russia: Hunchun Nature Reserve. The data we have collected, and will continue to collect, serve as a gauge by which we can measure the return of these big cats to suitable habitat in northeast China.