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Премия рунета 2017

Rangers of Russia and China are the guardians of the Amur Tiger and Leopard

29 january 2019
On January 23-25th, the Fourth Tiger Habitat Ranger Competition were held in Hunchun city of Jilin Province in China. The Competitions were organized with support of WWF-China and WWF-Russia
17 teams of 51 tiger habitat rangers from protected areas of Heilongjiang and Jilin Provinces, and Land of Leopard National Park in Russia, gathered to compete for the champion of the event.
Participants of Ranger Competitions
Olga Sass / WWF Russia
“Four years in a row WWF Russia has been supporting the inspectors from the Far Eastern nature reserves, as well as from the Primorsky Wildlife Management Department, to take part in the competitions, to demonstare their skills and share their experience with Chinese colleagues. The newly established National Park for Tigers and Leopards borders in the east with the Land of the Leopard National Park in Russia. This year the Russia team was formed of inspectors from the Land of the Leopard. In the future, when the idea of ​​creating a transboundary protected area for the protection of rare cats is finally implemented, the experience gained by inspectors will be useful for interacting with Chinese rangers for effective protection,” - comments Peter Osipov, director of WWF-Russia Amur branch.

Ranger Competitions - 2019

This year the teams were distributed into a big region of 40km2 equipped with the simulated poaching tools such as  snares and traps. The field competition mainly verifies the rangers’ skills in GPS application, camera trap set up, snare removal, SMART patrol and team collaboration, etc.
According to the general results of the work in the field and the theoretical part of the competition, the first prize was given to the team of rangers from Hunchun forestry unit, the second place was taken by the rangers from Wangqing forestry bureau and  the third - Hunchun Nature Reserve. It is important that the winning teams represent the territories bordering the Land of the Leopard National Park, where rare predators are often observed crossing the border. The Russian team was represented by inspectors Ilya Kulichenko, Dan Struzhkin and Dmitry Vodolagin. The team acted as a guest of the competition and demonstarted an example of the ranger's work.
“Rangers of the Land of the Leopard National Park take part in ranger competitions in China for the second time. At the competitions in 2016 our team took the first place, and now the inspectors came to this event as honored guests to share their experience. Such meetings with Chinese colleagues are particularly important for us in the course of preparations for the creation of a transboundary protected area,” - said Victor Bardyuk, the director of the Land of the Leopard National Park.
The winners of the Ranger Competiotions togethr with the Russia team
Olga Sass / WWF Russia

One more highlight of the competition is that at the closing ceremony, Northeast Tiger & Leopard National Park Administration and WWF-China have signed a strategic cooperation agreement. In the coming 3 years, both parties will closely work together in the areas of recovery of Amur tiger and leopard population and their habitats, combating against poaching, community development, technology and method introduction and international exchange promotion.

Signing strategic cooperation agreement between Northeast Tiger & Leopard National Park Administration and WWF-China
Olga Sass / WWF Russia
Zhou Fei, CPO of WWF China mentioned:” Amur tiger and leopard are the flagship species. Patrolling work could effectively protect tiger habitat and combat against poaching. In recent years, Sino-Russia eco-system has been greatly improved, wildlife conservation has made some good progress, which are closely linked to the rangers’ contribution. This competition also promoted the experience exchange and capacity building.”
Ilya Kulichenko presents the protection work of the Land of the Leopard National Park
Olga Sass / WWF Russia
Comments Iliya Kulichenko, the inspector of Land of the Leopard national Park: “Our team takes part in such competitions for the second time. This year there were a lot of interesting competitive moments. Lack of snow in the forest. Although it was easy to follow the route, it was very difficult to find almost invisible brown paper ropes (poaching snares). I would also like to note the difference in the work of Russian and Chinese rangers. First of all, our work is different because in Russia we often face armed poachers, this is quite risky to life. While the main poaching method in China is setting snares and traps on wild animals. ”
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Project Coordinator