The first tiger captured by camera trap in Bikin National Park
In 2017 - the Year of Protected Areas in Russia, Bikin National Park became the participants of the project on rare big cats conservation implemented by WWF Russia jointly with the Ministry of Natural Resources and supported by VTB Group. The first set of 48 camera traps for wild animals monitoring, primarily for the Amur tiger, was delivered by WWF Russia to Bikin National Park early this year by VTB Group. In January WWF Russia organized training courses for the staff of Bikin National Park on the methodology of camera trap setting and their further exploitation. The Park started to set camera traps on tiger trails.
“Bikin National Park is a newly established federal institution and this is the first year of its functioning. We try many things for the first time, including the Amur tiger camera trap monitoring. In February, the staff of national park jointly with Udege hunters who have their hunting plots on the park’s territory, conducted the first winter survey on the area of 450 km. Along with the survey, the first camera traps provided by WWF Russia Amur branch were set for research studies and wildlife protection. On 13 March, we started to process the obtained data. Tigers were the first ones captured by camera traps, which was actually expected, we have plenty of them in our areas. Now, after receiving the first images of Amur tigers we can confirm that tiger monitoring is successfully launched in Bikin National Park, - comments Alexei Kudryavtsev, director of Bikin National Park.
Bikin National Park is the largest protected area within the tiger home range was established in 2015 to preserve the unique forests of the Bikin River basin, the rare wild cat and traditional lifestyle of indigenous people. More than 1,16 million hectares in Pozharsky district of Primorsky Province - the key area for Udege people and the Amur tiger - were taken under protection. In September 2016, the Policy of Bikin National Park came into force, the park’s administration was formed and the staff proceeded to protection and research works.
“The forests of the Bikin River – the Russian Amazon – are the largest intact mixed Korean pine and broadleaved forests in the Northern Hemisphere preserving 10% of the Amur tiger population. One of the constant monitoring plots where we carried out Amur tiger monitoring for more than 15 years with the Russian academy of Sciences is located here. In different years from 7 to 12 tigers were recorded on this plot. And it’s also important that this year we delivered camera traps as well as trusted the key area of the national monitoring under the Park’s administration responsibility, - comments Pavel Fomenko, head of rare species conservation unit at WWF Russia Amur branch. – After the first check of camera traps data, three different tigers were identified from the images! A mature male, a female and most likely another pregnant female. All animals are in good health condition. Finally we have got treasured material to research the group of predators in the Bikin River basin”.
Video recording devices will be used for wild animals monitoring and for the protection of the national park territory. This will help to carry out a full scale collecting of photo and video materials to monitor the Amur tiger population in the Bikin River basin.