On September 25th, Vladivostok and Panda celebrated Tiger Day for the 12th time
This year the WWF’s main message to Primorye citizens was the conservation of tiger home – the Ussury taiga. WWF team was carrying big orange and green letters compiling a slogan SAVING TIGER - SAVING KOREAN PINE. The words were chanted enthusiastically by the marchers who raised the letters high in the air. This theme was continued in the WWF’s pavilion which was working on the central square. Its walls were decorated with photos of the “Plant a forest for leopard” campaign, when this spring with the support of volunteers WWF planted 576 000 Korean pine saplings in the Land of Leopard.
Another issue communicated at the holiday was summarizing the results of the International Tiger Forum – how are tigers doing a year after the International Tiger Conservation Forum in St. Petersburg?
'In 2010 more than 130 thousand people, participants of the Year of Tiger events in Russia, supported WWF. The International Tiger Forum in St. Petersburg, where Vladimir Putin on behalf of Russia pledged to protect Amur tiger became the final result of the Year of Tiger. At present, it can be stated: a ban on logging of Korean pine - the main tree in tiger forests - remains in force. Viktor Zubkov, first deputy prime minister of Russia encharged Primorsky Province Forest Agency with a task to amend provincial Forest Plan so that to ensure protection of tiger habitat, namely nut-harvesting zones, and Sredneussuriisky refuge. Sergey Ivanov, deputy prime minister of Russia, not only “kissed” the leopard, but also ordered to establish the national park with the extension of the protected area by thousand square kilometres, from which both leopards and tigers inhabiting this area would finally benefit,” - says Yury Darman, head of WWF Russia Amur branch.
“Moreover, in response to our care Korean pine paid us back this year with the tremendous harvest of nuts - which seems to be enough for everybody: for animals, birds and people. This means that next year we may expect the «harvest» of tiger cubs', - adds Yury Darman.
What has been fulfilled partially?
- Yury Trutnev, the Minister of Natural Resources and Ecology, assigned the ministerial divisions to consider the issue of decreasing the rates for the unit of hunting lands in some Far Eastern regions. The high lease cost does not allow hunting estates to work effectively, investing, for example, in the activities for raising ungulate numbers which is critically important for tiger conservation. However, Trutnev’s order remains unfulfilled.
- The scientific grounds were elaborated for the establishing of Sredneussuriisky refuge – the corridor for the Amur tiger to move from Russia to Wadanshan Mountains in China. But now the process is suspended as “LesExport” timber company leased this area in May 2011. In August 2011, Viktor Zubkov, first deputy prime minister of Russia ordered to substitute the leased area with other plots, which do not overlap the territory of the planned refuge. However, the territory is still formally under the lease of “LesExport”.
What remained unchanged?
- The amendments are still not introduced to Articles 258 and 188 of the Criminal Code of Russia and Articles 8.35 and 8.37 of the Administrative Code of Russia, which would toughen punishment for killing a tiger and for transportation and possession of its derivates.
- Measures are still not taken to increase ungulate numbers, the amendments are not introduced to the Federal Hunting Law.
- Poaching still remains one of the main threats to tigers; illegal logging in tiger habitat has reached its critical scale. However, the subsidies for rare species protection have not been increased to be used by Primorsky and Khabarovsky Provinces Hunting Departments; forest protection agencies are still not able to work effectively.
- Tiger rehabilitation centre has not been created. The Amur tiger monitoring has not been ensured by the government as well as the creation of the monitoring centre.