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A video handbook for tiger trackers released

15 january 2015
WWF Russia and The Amur Tiger Center have released an educational documentary “The Handbook for Trackers” to help prepare for the upcoming Tiger Census.

Preparations for the full range Amur tiger survey in the Russian Far East have begun. At this stage, the census coordinators are working to ensure that trackers refresh their skills in employing consistent and unified measurement of tiger tracks and correctly filling out their “tracker's diary”.

The nature documentary production group, “Zov Taigi,” with support of WWF and the “Amur Tiger Center,” has released an educational film “The Handbook for Trackers” to help the survey coordinators to train forest animal trackers. The project is supervised by the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment in cooperation with  ANO Amur Tiger Center and WWF Russia. The video handbook has turned instructions for trackers, existing previously on paper as dry and boring phrases, into more lively and interesting video materials.

“The most important aspect of implementing a scientific project involving a large number of experts is consistency in their actions, - says Sergey Aramilev, director of the Primorsky branch of ANO Amur Tiger Center.  The coordinators certainly selected the trackers with good tracking skills they had earned through professional activities or hunting experience. Full range tiger survey is a rare event, so all staff should be trained to consistently measure tiger tracks while filling in the collected data into a special diary. Only in this case can we get the data that can be compared. It is physically impossible for a coordinator to supervise the staff working in the field and to constantly remind them the adopted standards of collecting and recording data.  Therefore, the video guidebook will be a great support for the trackers”.

The documentary is primarily oriented for survey participants from Amurskaya and Evreiskaya Provinces, where the full range Amur tiger survey will be held for the first time. This educational documentary will be later translated into Chinese, to help Chinese tiger experts.   Despite the fact that this training video is produced for rather a specialized audience, the film has already aroused great interest amongst the general public.

Obviously, some nuances of the tracker's science were left, as the saying goes, behind the scenes, - says Pavel Fomenko, Species Program coordinator at WWF Russia Amur Branch. - But still, this film became a great help for survey coordinators. Now there is no need for having an outside field workshop in the cold. The instruction sessions can be carried out in a specially equipped room, enabling people to take notes in comfortable conditions and not on the run.”

A shot from the documentary «The Handbook for Trackers»
© Gennady Shalikov / WWF Russia