WWF Russia and VTB bank begin a project on big cats conservation
The cost of purchased equipment is about 9 million rubles (~ $150,000). The purchase of equipment and inventories was carried out by VTB Ecology LLC, which was established in 2016 for the implementation of VTB Group's environmental initiatives.
In general, the project is carried due to support of VTB Bank, which intends to allocate 5 million US dollars to WWF within five years. The first transaction of $ 1 million US dollars was transferred to the Fund in September 2016. The total cost of the big cats of Russia conservation project is estimated at $ 60 million.
The first stage of the WWF and VTB project is aimed at preserving such rare species of animals as the Amur tiger, the Far Eastern leopard and the snow leopard, as well as the reintroduction of the population of the Persian leopard.
Satellite phones and radio stations, navigators, photo-traps, equipment for inspectors, including tents, sleeping bags and other things, which are necessary to fight poaching in snow leopard habitats will be delivered to the reserve «Ubsunurskaya Kotlovina» (Tuva), the natural park «Tyva», Sailyugemsky and Tunkinsky national parks. The «Ubsunur Hollow» Reserve, Sailyugem National Park, Katun and Altai Reserves received snowmobiles. Binoculars, GPS-navigators and photo-traps are sent to specially protected natural territories of the Caucasus. The regional public organization «Ecologist of Dagestan» will be handed over the UAZ Hunter car for monitoring of leopards and ungulates.
Vasily Titov, the First Deputy President and Chairman of the Board of VTB Bank, said: «We are glad to make a practical contribution to such an important task of conservation of the unique nature of our country. We hope that VTB's participation in the World Wildlife Fund project will attract the attention of other organizations that can help in the further development of this initiative.»
«We thank VTB Bank for its support,» says Olga Bandalova, the director of corporate partners and supporters of WWF Russia. «The equipment transferred to the reserves will allow us to receive information about the life of rare cats in the wild, and ensure the safety of both predators and humans.»
The project of rare big cats conservation was developed by WWF Russia in cooperation with the Ministry of Natural Resources of Russia. The project will be implemented in full accordance with the program which was originally approved. Activities are planned to preserve the Amur tiger and leopard in the Far East (Primorsky and Khabarovsk Territory), the snow leopard in the Altai (Altai Republics, Buryatia, Tyva, Krasnoyarsk Territory), as well as the reproduction of the Asiatic leopard in the Caucasus (Adygea, Dagestan, Ingushetia, Kabardino-Balkaria, Karachay-Cherkessia, North Ossetia-Alania, the Chechen Republic and the Krasnodar Territory).
Within the framework of the project it is necessary to create new ones and to support the work of existing specially protected natural territories for optimizing of the territorial planning and programs of social and economic development of these regions. Much attention will be paid to fighting poaching, resolving conflicts with predators and improving of the living standards of people in these areas. In addition, the project will ensure the active participation of the Russian Federation in the implementation of international agreements and transboundary programs in the field of conservation of big cats.