Law enforcement and conservation organizations meet to enhance antipoaching measures
For the first time for many years WWF brought together numerous organizations of the Altai-Sayan Ecoregion to discuss conservation and sustainable use of wildlife resources. The meeting became the platform to share experience and define the urgent measures to enhance antipoaching results and fight wildlife crime such as strengthening of interregional cooperation, public inspections of local people, census methodologies etc.
The expert from 5 subjects of the Altai-Sayan Ecoregions met in the city of Abakan on 10-11, June. The main goal of the meeting was to define the urgent measures to strengthen interregional and interdepartmental cooperation for the effective conservation of wildlife. The State Committee for Wildlife and Environment Protection of the Republic of Khakassia became the key partner of the meeting. VTB Bank supported the event in the frameworks of the project on big cats conservation in Russia.
About fifty experts of different nature conservation, law enforcement and other organizations from the Republics of Altai, Tyva, Buryatia, Khakassia and Krasnoyarsk Region met in Abakan. The top officials came from Moscow: Nikolai Morgunov, the Director of State Game Control Federal organization and Pavel Malchikov, Director of the Department of State Policy in the field of Game of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of RF.
The main target of the meeting was to provide the different organizations with the platform to share the experience and discuss common problems in the sphere of both game and rare species conservation.
WWF, as the initiator of the Forum, refused the format of plenary talk for the sake of the free discussion and round tables talks. The participants became listeners or lecturers in turn.
On behalf of the Valentin Konovalov, the Head of the Republic of Khakassia the Forum’s participants were greeted by the Vice-Head of the Region Yury Kurlaev. He awarded the experts with diplomas and greeting letters.
The need for strengthening of the interregional and interdepartmental cooperation has long been discussed by the experts in Altai-Sayan Ecoregion. Unfortunately state organizations lacks the resources and finance for such events. WWF served as the partner to provide resources and unite the efforts of the organizations of the different regions. Considering the weak budget and capacities of conservation organizations the effective protection of the vast areas of Siberia can hardly be reached without strong partnership between different regions. The forum helped to share experience between the experts of strictly protected areas, national and nature parks, Game Departments, veterinary inspections, law enforcement agencies, customs etc.
The forum participants discussed the support and development of public inspections that consist of local people who volunteer to help during raids and awareness raising. The legal base for public inspection appeared in the Russian Federation in 2017 with a new Federal law. Since 2017 the inspections have become the effective tool to involve local communities into conservation and public control in the field of wildlife crimes. However the inspections still lack funding, capacities, resources. Another important topic was annual census of game and rare species. The old methodology developed in the Soviet Union is out of time and does not define the real number of animals. The presence at the forum of high federal officials from the Game Department helped the participants to discuss the issue face to face and share all warnings and shortages of the current methodology.
The discussion of the final resolution was very emotional, every participants wanted to include their ideas and concerns. In the resolution the forum participants addressed to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of the RF, regional governments, veterinary services, law enforcement agencies, police, FSB, WWF, Siberian customs etc. The key points of the resolution were to develop the public inspection initiative, the plans on interregional and interdepartmental cooperation, annual census of species.