Monitoring of the Amur tiger reflects its status
Amur tiger is a secretive animal whose life habits are still being researched by humans. Results of the latest full range survey indicated that approximately 450 tigers remain in the region. Peculiarities and tendencies of tiger population number could be revealed through annual monitoring on specially laid plots that cover one tenth part of tiger’s habitat.
“Monitoring is being conducted for 12 years already and gives information for analysis of tiger number dynamics and characteristics of its distribution and reproduction from year to year. These data are main monitoring results. Another important goal of the research program is controlling large wild ungulates’ status as well as changes of tiger habitats quality and its potential victims – comments Pavel Fomenko, biodiversity conservation coordinator at WWF-Russia, Amur branch, one of the initiators and participants of the annual tiger monitoring.
This year, monitoring area will be as large as 23500 square km with 16 plots laid in Khabarovskii and Primorskii Provinces. Total 6000 km of transects will be covered by foot, ski, snowmobile mapping all registered on the plots tracks of both tigers and wild ungulates. Results of the field research will be summed up in April when all the activities are finished with special report to be prepared and forwarded to the governmental structures responsible for tiger conservation in Russia.
WWF Russia has funded monitoring activities on six plots located in WWF’s model areas with two of them laid in Ussuriiskii and Lazovskii Nature Reserves. By now, monitoring is nearly over in southern plots and in a full swing in the northern areas.
Funding of monitoring activities is always problematic in spite of the respectable and high-profiled “term of service” of this research program.
“For the first time this year, program for monitoring of the Amur tiger number has been covered largely by the Far Eastern branch of the Russian Academy of Science. This is a good sign but it would be better to receive funding from Russian Ministry of Nature and Ecology and Federal Service of Natural Recourses Exploitation that are both responsible for tiger in Russia, - notes Pavel Pomenko. – Funds needed for tiger research should be allocated in the budget of a special Program on tiger conservation in Russia.”
WWF awaits elaboration of a new strategy for tiger conservation in Russia and hopes that this rare predator will receive not only governmental status of protection but also funding for its conservation.