Korean Pine + Voluntaries + May = A Forest for Amur Leopard
About 200 persons, representatives of 34 organizations, have put aside all prearranged plans and instead of sitting in cozy sofas in front of TVs decided to join WWF and Citibank and come to Khasanskii district to plant trees for leopards. Namely, for a male Elduginskii, his “girlfriend” (scientists has not named her yet), and a young female tiger, their neighbor, who roam the area according to the data of this winter monitoring. These interesting facts were voiced by Anatoly Belov, recipient of the Duke of Edinburgh Conservation Medal, WWF’s premier award.
“If you plant a tree sincerely it will definitely take roots and be growing, - addressed participants of the event Aleksandr Naryzhnyi, head of Khasanskii district. - I want for the warmth of your hearts to stay with these young trees.”
A delegation from Citibank came from Moscow to participate in the holiday. It was Citibank that provided financial support for the planting campaign.
“Last year the number of our clients reached 1 million so we have decided to plant the equal amount of Korean pines to confirm the status of our bank as an innovative and green. Let us save the land of leopards together,” - greeted participants Sergei Korotkov, head of Citibank’s Retail Business Department.
Though from the very beginning the sky was low and the clouds tried to retain the rain with all their force the mood of volunteers was high during the whole day. As Denis Smirnov, the inspiration of the campaign, head of the forest program at the WWF-Russia Amur branch, noted, “Such humid and cool weather is ideal for planting trees”.
Kids from local school environmental patrols handed out the insignia – green branded bandanas, yellow bright ribbons imitating leopard skin, and stickers “I have planted a forest for leopard”. All participants split into 8 groups and after being thoroughly instructed headed for the planting sites.
Within 5 hours, volunteers worked in pairs when one person dug a hole with a special spade-like tool and the other carefully placed a seedling into the hole and packed the soil with hands and feet to make sure that there were no air pockets. It was also important to keep the distance between the seedlings and rows.
“The Day of Korean Pine is a newly-born holiday but with a great future ahead, - remarked Igor Chestin, head of WWF-Russia, when awarding participants with certificates and souvenirs. – Today by planting young trees we celebrate a significant event that took place in November 2010 – imposing a ban for Korean pine harvesting. Helping to restore forests we introduce a new tradition. Over coming 50 years the area of coniferous-broadleaved forests in the south-west Primorye should increase by 50%. This is the goal of the WWF’s project, and Plant a Forest for Leopards campaign proves it is feasible. ”
… In the midday, a fresh leopard track was found in the mud. Early in the morning the rare cat was curious to find out what was going on in his forest. We believe the leopard will like the changes. In the evening visiting the place once again before going to bed the leopard will notice 30 000 young trees planted by people for his sake.