The recent WCS Russia report to WildCats details the work carried out in the past six months monitoring tiger and Amur leopards in southwest Primorye. Luckily, similar to the WCS team across the border in China, the coronavirus pandemic has not caused too much delay in activities.
“Even during the government-mandated self-isolation period, we were still able to legally conduct activities, albeit in small pairs or even family groups, where each team member worked with a spouse or sibling in the field to avoid social contact with other individuals”
WCS has been working in the Russian Far East since 1992 and are currently monitoring in the Land of the Leopard National Park (LLNP) and the adjacent Nezhinoe Naval hunting lease.
Camera trapping in LLNP across 60 locations, covered approximately 957 square kilometres of key habitat for Amur tigers and leopards. 120 cameras provided 4,933 images of which 1,416 photographs were of leopards (in 324 trap events), and 793 photographs were of tigers (in 172 trap events).
The full analysis of the data collected in these surveys will be provided at the end of the project period.
Disappointingly, despite sophisticated masking techniques, cameras continue to to be stolen from the survey site – this time around 8% went missing. WCS is working in collaboration with the LLNP staff and this spring, inspectors apprehended a suspect with stolen cameras.