Amur Tiger Conservation
The Amur tiger (Panthera tigris altaica) is one of the largest living cats in the world. It is one of the only tiger subspecies that is not in decline, and this is partly due to the assiduous conservation work being carried out to keep its populations stable. ZSL has been involved in Amur tiger conservation in the Russian Far East since 1995 and has been running a project in collaboration with Lazovsky State Nature Reserve since 2006 and with Zov Tigra National Park since 2011.
ZSL's Amur tiger conservation project is focused on population monitoring, anti-poaching efforts, and increasing education and awareness.
In 2007, we began using camera-traps on Lazovsky Reserve next to a hunting lease where soybeans are planted to increase ungulate densities for sport hunting. We chose this area because tigers frequently move back and forth between the reserve and Zov Tigra National Park which borders the hunting lease on the other side, potentially putting themselves at risk of poaching. In 2011 we expanded or work to include monitoring on the national park and as well. Our results provide information about tiger density, survival and reproduction in the area; information crucial for conservation work.
If we find evidence of good survival rates and stable tiger numbers, it will increase trust and improve the relations between the reserve and its neighbours. However, evidence of high mortality would suggest that our conservation practices are not working and that further actions must be taken to improve the protection of the tigers not only in the reserve but also on the lands nearby.
We hope that our presence on the hunting leases will deter tiger poaching if it is occurring, and that our contact with hunters during the project will give us a chance to build a relationship with them, which may also help reduce future tiger poaching. We now also have camera traps in the hunting lease and national park so the whole area is being monitored.
We also plan to increase awareness by consulting with local people and providing them with information on events in and around the reserve - with an emphasis on the tigers that live near the villages. We hope that the villagers will develop a sense of connection to and pride in ‘their’ local tigers and will want to help protect them.
For more information, please check out the links at the right of the page, including the project blog from Misha Goncharuk, a young Russian vet working on the project, as well as 2 camera trapping photostories.
This project is run by tiger biologist Linda Kerley and her husband Misha Borisenko, an expert wildlife tracker. Linda and Misha need more funds for buying camera traps and to keep the jeep running. If you would like to donate, your funds would be helping to secure a future for both Amur tigers and their smaller cousins, the Amur leopards.