The Bikin National Park: 3 years of work for wildlife conservation
The protected area of a national level in the upper and middle reaches of the Bikin River in Primorsky province was established on November 3, 2015 by the presidential decree. More than 1,16 million hectares of unique forest stands – the area vitally important for Udege people and the Amur tiger – was taken under protection. WWF Russia and the Amur Tiger Center put a lot of efforts in the Park’s establishment supporting its first steps of work, formation and promoting its international recognition.
A number of strategic decisions for the Park were taken in 2018. In February 2018 the government of the Russian Federation approved a Complex program for tourism development on the territory of the Bikin National Park. In July, the World Heritage Committee declared the Bikin National Park a part of the Central Sikhote-Alin UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site. On September 8, the Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev has signed the decree “On conversion of land use from forest funds to protected status for needs of the national park”. Since that moment the Park has become a rightful owner of its territory.
The youngest national park in the Russian Far East has a staff of 111 people including 77 indigenous people. Since 2016, the Council of Indigenous Peoples is being active under the Park’s administration to ensure rights and legal interests of indigenous people.
Thanks to WWF, the Amur Tiger Center and the Presidential Grants Foundation, the Park has received the equipment for territory protection. Transport includes 12 snowmobiles, 8 boats, 5 cars, 2 snow and swamp-going vehicles, 2 quadricycles. The rangers are equipped by GPS navigators, portable transmitters, satellite radio sets, video recorders, tents, sleeping bags, and the seasonal outfit with the Park’s logo. The rangers have been trained to operate with a drone, 43 specialists – for driving snowmobile and quadricycle. The workshops on law enforcement and legislation regulations are held for the Park’s specialists on a regular basis. In 2017 and 2018 the works on Park’s border delineation were carried out and information boards were built.
Over the whole period of work, the rangers of the Park gave administrative fines to 64 violators. Moreover, based to the materials provided by Park’s rangers, the internal affairs department of Pozharsky district has initiated 3 criminal cases on illegal hunting and one on illegal storage and carrying of firearms.
Another chapter in the Park’s life is the organization of the Amur tiger monitoring that is carried out by the science department with support of WWF and the Amur Tiger Center. In 2017-2018, a plot of 2000 square kilometers was delineated to monitor the Amur tiger population numbers. 68 camera traps were set in 35 sites. The camera traps recorded 26 tigers as well as other animals such as bears, wild boars, Indian marten and deer.
This March with funds from Bisnes-Molodost WWF purchased and handed to the Park’s directorate five snow mobiles to do the Amur tiger monitoring and the territory protection more effective.