Critically endangered Amur leopard thrown a life line
Tuesday 14 February 2006
ZSL is delighted by the Russian Government’s decision not to allow the construction of an oil terminal at Perevoznaya on the Amur Bay near Vladivostok.
Image: © Rob Dolaard
The planned oil pipeline would have passed right through the home of the last 30 wild Amur leopards, including the internationally important Kedrovvaya Pad nature reserve. The disturbance and roads involved would certainly have sealed the leopard’s fate.
Sarah Christie, Conservation Programme Manager at ZSL and European Coordinator for the Amur leopard breeding programme said:
'ZSL has campaigned tirelessly for the last year to halt the construction of the terminal in this important location, where vital conservation work with the Amur Leopards is currently taking place.
This decision gives new hope for the critically endangered Amur leopard and the unique forest and marine ecosystems of Southwest Primorye. We are absolutely delighted with this result.'
The initial choice of location by Transneft alarmed environmentalists around the world, as it is in a pristine bay important for local fishing and ecotourism businesses, as well as being the world’s last remaining habitat for the Amur leopard and other wildlife.
The area contains 30% of Russia’s endangered species as defined in the Russian 'Red List' and 15% of these live only in this small region. An alternative location further north is far preferable on all counts and the location in the Amur Bay would have benefited no-one bar the contractors.
The Russian expert committee that conducted the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) on the terminal concluded that a terminal at Perevoznaya on the Amur Bay is unacceptable. The federal agency ‘Rostekhnadzor’ responsible for the EIA and the work of the committee has endorsed the committee decision, and on Monday published this on its official website.
The vice president of Transneft, Sergei Grigorev, has stated that his oil pipeline company will now start looking for another site.
Unfortunately, the threat to Lake Baikal is not over yet. Rostekhnadzor has not approved the results of another federal expert committee that reviewed the pipeline project. This committee concluded that the proposed pipeline route passing the lake at no more than 800 meters was unacceptable. However, Rostekhnadzor has refused to endorse the committee's conclusion