Russia’s Khabarovskii Province at the northern end of the Amur tiger range is set to benefit from a new project aimed at securing sustainable development in the region while also protecting the big cat and its habitat.
The three-year project is being developed by the WWF-Russia Amur branch in collaboration with the Nordens Ark Zoo (Sweden). It envisions increasing tiger prey populations, creating and supporting anti-poaching groups and raising awareness in the local population.
To launch the project, WWF and the zoo conducted feasibility studies and participated in anti-poaching raids, working with partners in Anyuisky National Park and the Khabarovskii Province Service for Fauna and Protected Areas, which will be the initiative’s main executors.
Three new anti-poaching groups will be formed and equipped with off-road vehicles, snowmobiles, boats and boat engines for the project. Planned tiger monitoring and field work will be done in close cooperation with local indigenous people. Members of the Udege and Nanai tribes will also get new jobs working as staff for eco-tourism projects and as members of the anti-poaching groups.
“Getting support from local people is an important part of this project,” said Viktor Nikiforov, WWF-Russia Pilot Projects Coordinator. “Local communities, including indigenous tribes, should have opportunities for nature use, traditional hunting and fishing, as well as benefit from ecotourism development.”
Additional plans for the project include opening a new visitor center and development of a special curriculum on ecology and biodiversity conservation for local schools.
The tiger population in Khabarovskii Province currently stands at about 20, with a total of less than 500 wild Amur tigers scattered across the Russian Far East and Northeastern China.
The total global population is estimated at 3,200 individuals, a 97 percent decrease from the estimated 100,000 that roamed widely across Asia at the turn of the last century in 1900.
The Amur tiger is the largest of all the tiger sub species and big cats.