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Simultaneous full range Amur tiger survey is launched in the Russian Far East

17 december 2014
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Ecology of the Russian Federation held a meeting in Vladivostok to officially announce the start of the simultaneous full range Amur tiger survey.

The meeting was held with participation of the Russian Academy of Sciences, ANO “Amur Tiger Center” and WWF Russia.

In Russia a simultaneous full range Amur tiger census is held every 10 years. It allows specialists to determine the current status of the tiger population and identify necessary measures to improve the protection of this rare predator. According to the last census, conducted in 2005, there were estimated to be 423-502 Amur tigers in the south of the Russian Far East. This figure comprises 95% of this subspecies on the planet.

“The assessment of the population status includes quantitative indicators - 500 or 501 tigers, as well as prey base and habitat conditions, - said Amirhan Amirhanov, the deputy head of Rosprirodnadzor (the Federal Service for Supervision over Natural Resources Exploitation), the chairman of the Working Group for the preparation and conduct of the Amur tiger census 2014/2015. - We need to have an understanding about the condition of forests, which tigers have traditionally inhabited,  and how they have been changed over the past ten years by humans. This is not simple work. The results of the survey should influence the future of forest and hunting management, and infrastructure development in the region.”

The survey is organized by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Ecology of the Russian Federation with the support of ANO “Amur Tiger Center”, WWF Russia and the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Traditionally, the Administrations of Primorsky and Khabarovsky Provinces took responsibility for carrying out these large-scale studies. However, this time two “newcomers”, Amurskaya and Evreiskaya provinces, have joined the census. Ten years ago this Red Data Book animal was not registered there, but over that period it has tried to expand its range towards these territories. And now rangers and biologists from these provinces for the first time will join the simultaneous full range Amur tiger survey.

«I managed to take part in all tiger censuses over the last 30 years, notes Pavel Fomenko, biodiversity conservation program coordinator at WWF Russia Amur branch. And if the previous census in 2005 was organized and financed primarily by environmental NGOs, then now the governmental structures have taken the full responsibility for this job».

He adds that the survey data will be complimented with images from camera traps and DNA genetic analysis so that there are not doubts about the census results.

The simultaneous tiger census on February 1-15, 2015 will cover over 150 000 square kilometers of tiger habitats in the Russian Far East. Around 1500 transects were laid to survey this territory and measure tiger tracks. About 2000 field workers will participate in the census, among which are representatives of federal and regional protected areas, governmental supervision structures, professional game biologists and experienced hunters.

Overall supervision of the procedure will be carried out by the Pacific Institute of Geography of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

The information about the Amur tiger will be collected on 862 survey units. A simultaneous full range Amur tiger survey will be held since 1 to 15 February, 2015
© Vasily Solkin / WWF Russia
Press conference devoted to the launch of the Amur tiger census
© Elena Starostina / WWF Russia
Press-conference on the Amur tiger survey. From left to right: Pavel Fomenko, Species Program Coordinator of WWF Russia Amur branch; Dmitry Belanovich, Director of the Department of Public Policy and Regulation in the field of Environmental Protection of