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The Tigers Alive Initiative (TAI) launches a pilot project in Russia

31 october 2014
Sikhote-Alin Nature Reserve was selected a first protected area in Russia to carry out CA|TS (Conservation Assured Tiger Standards) pilot of WWF Tigers Alive Initiative.

The Tigers Alive Initiative (TAI) is WWF’s global tiger program, established to drive forward the global goal to double wild tigers by 2022 - Tx2.  The Tx2 goal was agreed by all tiger governments in 2010, at the Tiger Summit in St Petersburg, and is the most ambitious and visionary species conservation goal ever set. In 2013 TAI launched certification of tiger habitats. Since 21 to 31 October the experts of TAI from India and Malaysia came to Primorye to discuss the possibility of launching CA|TS in Russia.

«CA|TS is an overarching tool that provides a standardized framework for assessing and measuring the overall impact of the work being carried in the existing tiger range across different landscapes globally. Having rolled out CA|TS in South Asian range countries and with dialogue underway in Southeast Asia it necessitates to get Russia onboard. We are in Russia to discuss the possibilities of launching CA|TS. Russia with 13% of the global tiger population is considered to be second highest tiger population range country. The habitat encompassing tiger landscape varies greatly in composition and very unique too. Given this uniqueness of habitat and the potential number of tigers, it becomes imperative to get Russia to adopt CA|TS», - comments Khalid Pasha, CA|TS coordinator of WWF Tigers Alive Initiative.

During the visit, the experts visited the Sikhote-Alin Nature Reserve, «Udege Legend» National Park and «Sidatun» and “Tigrovoye” hunting leases, which are partners of WWF Russia to increase the number of ungulates and Amur tiger conservation.

Planning our visit to the Far Eastern taiga, we wanted to select a pilot site. Sikhote-Alin Nature Reserve and National Park is an ideal site to carry out CA|TS pilot, as this has  all the prospective elements that would be needed for a CA|TS model site, an exceptional system of management, habitat uniqueness, a tiger population that has the potential to double in future, - comments Khalid Pasha.

Sikhote-Alin Nature Reserve is one of the largest tiger reserves in Russia. For almost 80 years, tiger conservation activities and science projects are carried out here. About 20-22 tigers are recorded on the protected area, and it is one of the largest tiger groups found in protected areas of the Russian Far East. Therefore it’s logical that our reserve was selected by the experts of Tiger Alive Initiative for a pilot project in Russia. It is assumed that during the certification all the strengths and weaknesses of tiger conservation in the reserve will be identified. In the future, we will try to eliminate all week points,'- said Dmitry Gorshkov, director of the Sikhote-Alin Nature Reserve.

Tiger conservation requires an integrated approach that involves monitoring their populations, law enforcement and protection, mitigating poaching and illegal trade, habitat management and engagement with communities that reside in and around tiger landscapes. CA|TS provides a standardize framework to link these elements and present an overview.

“CA|TS standardize framework will help to equate the conservation efforts and management practices that are being carried out in tiger landscapes globally and provide opportunity for range countries to share their best practices on a single slate”, - comments Natalia Pervushina, Tiger Trade Program Leader at WWF/TRAFFIC.

Each of the CA|TS complaint site will be an exemplary tiger conservation site setting the bench mark for highest standards that would be needed to ensure the long-term conservation of tigers and associated species, demonstrating its value for biodiversity conservation too. The CA|TS will also help in mobilizing resources necessary and identifying the desirable action for managing the protected area. This makes CA|TS a conservation tool beyond tigers.

“I have worked in all 12 tiger range countries, Russia was the only country where I have not been. The trip became a surprising revelation, not only because of the uniqueness of the Russian model of tiger conservation, but also to get acquainted with the way of life and the spirit of the people of this region. Russia conducts a lot of activities for tiger restoration, numbering more than 450 individuals, and is the source for the transition of tigers in China - said the expert of TAI, Indian biologist Joseph Vattakaven. - During this visit, I witnessed the participation of WWF Russia in tiger conservation, together with government agencies and local people and understand why it is important not only to work with the reserves, but with hunting estates to maintain and increase the number of tigers.'