Securing a Future for Amur Leopards and Tigers in Russia V (Phoenix Fund)

Phoenix Fund

Project Name: Securing a Future for Amur Leopards and Tigers in Russia V

Location: Primorsky krai and south of Khabarovsky krai, Russian Far East

Goal: The project will be implemented in Primorsky krai and south of Khabarovsky krai that is home to such endangered species as Amur tigers and Amur leopards. The goal of the project is to stabilize Amur tiger and leopard populations through anti-poaching and environmental education activities.

Objective 1: To reduce poaching of Amur tigers, Amur leopards, and their prey species and improve protection of their habitat;

Objective 2: To improve law enforcement efforts within the protected areas;

Objective 3: To raise people’s awareness about the state of Amur tiger and leopard populations and involve the public in nature conservation actions.

Background:

Poaching of both Amur tigers and leopards and loss of their habitat are the biggest factors in the decline of these big cats. Just a century ago, there were an estimated 100,000 tigers in the wild; today only about 3,500 survive and occupy 7% of their historic range. The tiger has traditionally been classified into nine subspecies, of which three are recently extinct and one likely so. Bengal, Amur, Sumatran, Indochinese, and Malayan tiger, are the surviving subspecies, while the Bali, Javan, Caspian, and, perhaps South China subspecies are extinct.

The Amur tiger (Panthera tigris altaica) has come perilously close to disappearing in the 1940s, when the tiger population dwindled to a mere 30. The numbers fell again in the 1990s, but are now stable at 431 to 529, thanks to the assiduous efforts of local and international scientific, law enforcement and non-governmental organizations. After alarming study results in 2009 indicating decline in tiger numbers again, Russia has committed itself to assisting in doubling the world’s tiger numbers, and in Russia, expanding the wild population by singing St. Petersburg Declaration during the International Tiger Forum in November 2010 and the Phoenix Fund is assisting the Russian Government in carrying out those commitments.

We are going to continue holding feedback meetings (two or three meetings per year in a PA) in order to assist senior staff to monitor and analyse SMART data and give recommendations to patrol teams based on the results of their field work. To boost motivation among the patrol teams, Phoenix uses incentive system. With an incentive scheme the teams that demonstrate improvements and excellence in both effort and results are financially rewarded and it also establishes friendly competition between teams and creates a stimulus for excellence in anti-poaching work.

In order to increase environmental awareness among the local community, Phoenix is going to support three eco-centres (in Khasan, Lazovsky and Terneisky districts of Primorye) and Vladivostok Center for Environmental Education and the first citywide Environmental Theatre. Our target audience will be mostly made up of schoolchildren ranging in age between 6 and 17 and their parents. On average, about 1,200-2,500 children will be reached annually by an educator, 96-120 lessons will be given at a centre, 5-10 theatrical performances will be staged during the year at the Environmental Theatre. To promote tiger conservation, Tiger Day Festival with a carnival procession, theatrical performances, contests and entertainment will be celebrated in Primorye. Also, an annual workshop will be held to raise skills of our educators and improve ecological lessons. Additionally, Phoenix will organize an art contest devoted to big cats among children and publish wall calendars with the best drawings.