New transboundary corridor established for tigers of Russia and China
On 18 October 2012 Vladimir Miklushevsky, the Governor of Primorsky Province, signed the Decree on establishment of “Sredneussuriisky” Wildlife Refuge thus fulfilling another commitment on tiger conservation made by Russia two years ago at the International Tiger Conservation Forum in St. Petersburg.
“The creation of “Sredneussuriisky” Wildlife Refuge was included in the “National Action Plan for the Amur Tiger conservation in the Russian Federation” which was elaborated with WWF Russia active participation. Some measures of the Action Plan have been already taken - the ban on Korean pine harvesting introduced and the penalties for wildlife contraband upgraded. Right now the Government of the Russian Federation has made another step – the created Refuge will provide favorable conditions for the rarest cat of the Planet, - says Igor Chestin, director of WWF Russia. – A year and a half ago together with public we toughly resisted the attempts of timbermen to enter this territory and start commercial logging. The establishment of the wildlife refuge is our joint victory. We are grateful to all our supporters who defended the forests of the Russian Amazon. And congratulate tigers of Russia and China with a new “apartment”!”
“Sredneussuriisky” Wildlife Refuge and Pozharskaya Korean pine nut harvesting zone play a key role in the Amur tiger conservation. These unique Korean pine-broadleaved forests in the Strelnikov mountain range are the only ecological corridor connecting tiger populations in Russia and China.
“Establishment of “Sredneussuriisky” Wildlife Refuge is a key issue for the conservation of the transboundary corridor between Russia and China, without which it is impossible to restore tiger population in China and provide its normal existence in the north of Primorsky Province, - comments Yury Darman, director of WWF Russia Amur branch. - This is an important step, but not the end of the road which lies ahead. The second thing is to forever exclude the Pozharskaya Korean pine nut harvesting zone which is nearly 40 thousand hectares from commercial logging and transfer the lease to local residents for the gathering of non-timber forest products. This is also a key territory both for local people and tigers. In general, an amendment into the Forest Code should be introduced for all pine nut harvesting zones within tiger range not to be leased but serve their target purpose, namely, to sustain ecosystem service and gather non timber forest products and not leased as the rest of the forest stands”.
“Sredneussuriisky” Wildlife Refuge covers 72,7 thousand hectares. It lies mainly within the borders of Bikinsky District (56,7 thousand hectares), between the state border of the Russian Federation and China. The southern part of the Refuge is the unique nesting grounds of the Oriental stork where up to 17 stork couples nest on 20 thousand hectares of suitable wetlands which makes 2,5% of this endangered species global population.”