Project Name: Amur Tiger and Amur Leopard Conservation in Russia (incorporating additional grants from Kolmarden Foundation and Dreamworld Wildlife Foundations)
Location: Primorsky krai and south of Khabarovsky krai, Russian Far East
Goal: This three year project is located in five protected areas across Primorsky krai and south of Khabarovsky krai that is home to endangered 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 improve protection of Amur tigers/leopards and their prey and habitat in 5 federal-level protected areas
Objective 2: To increase level of children’s environmental awareness and drive positive change in environmentally relevant behaviour in four districts of Primorye
Poaching of both Amur tigers and leopards and loss of their habitat are the biggest factors in the decline of these big cats.
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.
This project is focused on mitigating the main threats to the survival of the Amur tiger and the Amur leopard – poaching, habitat destruction and prey depletion – through the use of SMART by anti-poaching teams in 5 protected areas, key “source sites” for tigers and leopards. Protection of such areas is vital for tiger and leopard conservation in Russia. Although PAs continue to provide good protection of these big cats, they are still threatened by poaching of tiger/leopard prey and of predators themselves. Phoenix has been focusing on PAs for many years. Implementation of SMART (Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool) in 5PAs (Land of the Leopard NP, Ussuriisky NR, United direction of Lazovsky Nature Reserve and Zov Tigra National Park, Sikhote-Alin NR, and Protected Priamurye) has resulted in a substantial improvement of the protection.
Phoenix believe that raising an environmentally literate generation will ensure the survival of the tiger and leopard in the long term. According to their recent opinion polls, children who attend extra-curricular ecological classes and nature-conservation actions, have higher level of environmental awareness compared with the level of children who do not attend such events. It is important to continue providing children with environmental education and supporting teachers and caregivers as they engage their children in outdoor studies and environmental issues.