Very good news about Amur leopards!!!
The protection of Amur leopards and prey species has improved considerably and as a result the population has started to increase! The future looks much brighter for Amur leopards than a decade ago!
Exciting camera-tap count result!
Camera-trap counts in 2011 identified a total of 29 individual leopards in Russia and a few additional leopards across the border in China. These Camtrap counts did not cover the full range of the Amur leopard. Based on an extrapolation of the results, the total population in Russia and China is now estimated at between 40 to 50 individuals, a substantial increase compared to estimates of 25 to 35 individuals a decade ago! (The camera-trap counts in Russia were conducted by WCS in co-operation with the local Institute of Biology and Soils of the Russian Academy of Science and by WWF in co-operation with the Institute for Sustainable Use of Natural Resources).
New National Park “Land of the Leopard”!
In April 2012, a new national park (with a total size of 2620 km2!!!) was established in the range of the Amur leopard. The wildlife refuge “Leopard” and Nature Reserve “Kedrovaya Pad” as well as land in the border zone and very important leopard habitat in the “Nezhinskoye” Hunting Lease have all been included in the newly established national park. Especially the inclusion of leopard habitat in Nezhinskoye Hunting lease is good news for leopards. Although hunting will continue here, the situation will improve because national park inspectors will have law enforcement rights in the hunting lands that became part of the park. Elsewhere in the national park, there will be a full ban on hunting. Logging will also be banned in all lands of the national park and present logging operations will be discontinued before 2015.
The Wildlife Conservation Society runs a very successful fire-management project in the range of the Amur leopard with a 99% reduction of burned area in a 280-km2 model area in 2011 compared to what would have burned without interventions. WCS, Phoenix Fund and ZSL have jointly established an additional project area in an adjacent area in the wildlife refuge (now National park “Land of the Leopard”). The fire reduction results for spring 2012 have not yet been calculated with use of satellite imagery, but we expect very good results in both model areas this spring season.
Improved anti-poaching patrols
The program (see above) for improving protection in 4 key-protected areas for Amur tigers also runs in the “Land of the Leopard” National Park. The results here are better than in any of the other 3 protected areas. The distance of patrols and the time spent on patrols both more than doubled. And as a result the number of apprehended poachers increased 2.5 times in 2011 as compared to the average in the previous three years. A bonus system has been introduced that rewards patrol teams that perform well. This system has successfully stimulated joint patrols by park inspectors with agencies that have law enforcement rights outside the park. As a result, all Amur leopard habitat in Russia is now effectively protected.
Camera-trap photo analysis workshop
WCS will host a workshop in August 2012 where all camtrap photos of Amur leopards and tigers that have been made over the years in Russia and China will be analysed with the help of software in order to verify count results and determine the exact numbers of unique individuals in various years (and for all years in total). Up-to-day, the analyses of camtrap photos was done visually without the assistance of software.
Amur leopard re-introduction plan
The plan for re-introduction of Amur leopards has been finalised and has been sent to the responsible Moscow authorities for review and -hopefully!- approval.
The document does not only describe the plan for re-introduction. It summarises everything that is presently known about Amur leopards in the wild and in captivity.
Download the Amur leopard re-introduction plan (2 MB).
Heavy snowfall and poaching incident
ALTA Amur Leopard Conservation website
Amur leopard video.
Golden Ark Award for Michiel Hötte of Tigris Foundation
Michiel Hötte, founder of Tigris Foundation, received a prestigious Golden Ark Award on Friday 14 March 2008 in Burgers Zoo in Arhem in the Netherlands for his achievements as an Amur leopard conservationist. Burgers Zoo in Arnhem has made the funds for the three awards of Euro 50,000 available. Tigris Foundation will use the award money for the development of firebreaks around the leopard reserve Kedrovaya Pad. Poaching and forest fires are the two main threats to the survival of the remaining 30 Amur leopards.
- press release here, photo here
Chinese wildlife markets threaten Russian wildlife
Vladivostok – 480 bear paws, a tiger skin and tiger skeleton were confiscated from Chinese nationals during an attempt to illegally cross the border from Russia into China. Russian bear and other wildlife populations are depleted to satisfy demand in China. Press Release (4 September 2007)
- Press Release China's stock piles of illegal tiger products should be destroyed (27 July 2007)
- Photo (stockpiled tigers at Chinese tiger farm)
- You can help! View the video - and take action for tigers - at www.EndTigerTrade.org
- Large tiger mozaik unveiled at CITES conference (film - Flash Animation)
- Read more about the "International Tiger Coalition" and its campaign against tiger trade
Organise an Amur leopard event!
Do you plan to embark on a long sailing trip? Put the Amur leopard emblem on your sails! Will you participate in a marathon? Put the emblem on your shirt! Will you climb a high mountain? Put a flag with the emblem on the mountain top!
We invite you to organise an Amur leopard activity and send us photographs and footage of the event. Any activity is possible, even a simple interview with an Amur leopard fan explaining why this animal is special! We will use your photos and footage for publication in local Russian newspapers and for broadcasts on local Russian television. Seeing that people in far-away places care about the Amur leopard will make a big impression on Russian villagers in the leopard’s range. It will make them realise that their leopard is worth protecting.
It is essential that the ‘Amur leopard emblem’ is shown prominently on the footage and photographs of your event.
Download the Amur Leopard Conservation Emblem: PDF , GIF
Please contact Michiel Hötte for further information.
Amur Tiger Count Report (the most recent full range count) - here