Off-roaders for the leopard
“Kedrovaya Pad” is the only nature reserve in Russia which territory is the habitat for the two rarest representatives of the cat family – the Amur tiger and Far Eastern leopard. In connection to this, since 1994 - the beginning of WWF activity in the Russian Far East, its attention and efforts were aimed at the improving of the protection system of this PA, and later implementaed within the framework of the Strategy for Conservation of Far Eastern leopard in Russia developed in 1999 by WWF initiative.
In 2008 the ”possessions” of “Kedrovaya Pad” considerably extended: a new nature protected area – federal refuge “Leopardovy” – was established and now managed by the nature reserve. It has consolidated the early existing refuges “Barsovy” and “Borisovskoye Plateau”. With this decree of the government of Russian Federation, both “Leopardovy” and “Kedrovaya Pad” refuges were registered to be under the same federal authority – in the Ministry of Nature Resources of Russia. As a result, in addition to almost 18000 hectares of the nature reserve territory the administration of “Kedrovaya Pad” is now in charge of tiger and leopard protection as well as for protection of other rare flora and fauna species on 169 429 hectares of “Leopardovy” refuge. And realization of such uneasy task would be difficult without support of non-governmental nature protection organizations.
“Land of Leopard” is WWF’s model area, and I and my colleagues are glad that all our efforts, a lot of time and financial resources were not spent in vein, - comments Yury Darman, Director of WWF-Russia Amur branch. – It’s encouraging that the government of Russian Federation has finally established the structure which is responsible for tiger and leopard protection in the south-western Primorye”.
In the framework of the Agreement on cooperation signed by WWF and the administration of nature reserve, “Kedrovaya Pad”, which is now working in a new status – as federal institution – has got an opportunity to solve the tasks to develop and improve the unified protected area more effectively as a part of state nature biosphere reserve “Kedrovaya Pad” and federal refuge “Leopardovy”. Parties agreed on collaboration on flora and fauna species biodiversity conservation, and on development of environmental education for local people. The issue of Far Eastern leopard and Amur tiger conservation is specially emphasized in the Agreement: the implementation of projects on anti poaching activities, fighting illegal logging and forest fires, the exchange of up-to-date information on violations of nature protection regime.
Director of “Kedrovaya Pad” nature reserve Sergei Khokhryakov expressed his gratitude to WWF for its organizational and financial support during establishment of the unified protected area. “We are glad that “Kedrovaya Pad” nature reserve has such a partner as WWF who always keeps its promises” – said Sergei Khokhryakov.
WWF committed to provide financial and technical support to the nature reserve during the period of its formation in a new status. The first donation from WWF is 1 000 000 rubles. Two new “UAZ-Farmer” off-road busses were already purchased and passed to the protection department of the nature reserve. In future the vehicles will be reequipped for the work in field conditions and will become a serious support in the raid works. Figuratively speaking, the prints of the tires of these vehicles have become the supplement to the seals set on the official Agreement on cooperation between “Kedrovaya Pad” nature reserve and WWF-Russia.