Land of Leopards national park getting its shape
Main report was done by the representative of the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources Vsevolod Stepanitskii. Among co-reporters was Igor Chestin, head of WWF-Russia.
In September 2010, Vladimir Putin encharged executive Ministries and departments with orders to take measures on leopard conservation, development of Kedrovaya Pad reserve and Leopardovyi refuge. Positive changes that have been achieved were reported at the session.
Among achieved tasks were establishing unified management for these PAs, allocation of serious amounts of money, three-times increasing of rangers staff. The Russian Ministry of Natural Resources has sent China an appeal to create transboundary PA for tiger and leopard.
At the session, borders of the future national park were agreed with the total area of the planned PA enlarged up to 380 000 hectares which is twice higher than the area of existing protected areas. Complementary to Kedrovaya Pad nature reserve and Leopardovyi refuge, the national park will add territory of near-border patrolling zone, lands of Nezhinskoye and Borisovskoye hunting estates, as well as plots of other land- users. As was noted at the meeting, round-up hunt, hunt with dogs have to be excluded in the attachable lands with the focus to be made on tourism development.
“For years the Amur leopard has been in the shade of its more regal fellow, the Amur tiger. Different agencies were not able to reach an agreement. But in 2007, the animal had its luck after Sergei Ivanov had decided to patronize it, - comments Igor Chestin, head of WWF-Russia. – With his help it became possible to untangle the deadlock of interagency contradictions and to create on the base of two existing refuges of different subordination a joint federal wildlife refuge Leopardovyi headed by Kedrovaya Pad nature reserve. WWF has been striving for this decision to be made for ten years. What is left is to bring the story to an end, i.e. to create Land of Leopards national park that will allow both to restore the Amur leopard population and to guarantee sustainable nature use. ”