Immortal Tiger Regiment Marched During Tiger Day Festival

Tiger Poacher Sentenced to Two Years of Probation

Annual Educational Workshop at Land of the Leopard National Park

These days, tigers and leopards are still hunted for their valuable body parts that are used in traditional Chinese medicine and for skins that are in high international demand. Moreover, it is common for hunters to poach tigers to eliminate competition for ungulates and habitat and for locals to kill tigers in retaliation for depredations on domestic animals such as dogs and cows.

Poaching is a serious threat for the survival of these cats. In Russia as well as in many other tiger-range countries, strengthening anti-poaching efforts is a key task to achieve a goal set at the International Tiger Forum in St.Petersburg in 2010 to double wild tigers by 2022.

The main goal of our anti-poaching activities is to reduce poaching of Amur tigers and leopards and their prey within protected areas, hunting leases, and other lands important for these big cats. However, the anti-poaching teams act against all forms of poaching as well as against illegal trade in animal parts and medicinal plants such as ginseng. Hence, our teams help to protect the whole terrestrial ecosystem.

Since its establishment the Phoenix Fund has been providing support for representatives of state environmental law enforcement agencies and volunteers who are fighting against ecological violations in Amur tiger and leopard habitat. Close collaboration with Primorsky Hunting Management Department, Inspection Tiger, Centre for Rehabilitation and Reintroduction of Tigers and Other Wild Animals, Far Eastern Operative Customs, Natural Resource Use Control Agency (Rosprirodnadzor) in Primorsky Krai, Protected Areas Department of Primorsky Krai Administration and others has led to successful and well-coordinated work in nature conservation.

At present, the Phoenix Fund focuses on anti-poaching activities in the protected areas nature reserves, wildlife refuges and national parks.  Regional- and federal-level protected areas in Russia with different protection regimes protect up to 25% of tiger habitat. As these areas represent the key undisturbed tiger habitat and provide necessary protection, and given that economic and business development as well as other adverse environmental effect are strictly prohibited there, it is necessary to improve measures to conserve these rare wild cats there. To achieve this objective, in 2010-2011 the Phoenix Fund in cooperation with Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and Zoological Society of London (ZSL) launched Management Information System (MIST), that was later replaced by its improved version SMART, in four protected areas of Primorye located in the main tiger habitat:

-Kedrovaya Pad Nature Reserve and Leopardovy Wildlife Refuge (these two areas merged into Land of the Leopard National Park in April 2012)

SMART is a patrol management tool that supports and improves anti-poaching activities. SMART is a GIS (Geographic Information System) that enables comparing standardized performance indicators between teams, conservation sites, and time periods as well as viewing patrol efforts and results on conservation site maps. SMART lets rangers record their movements, observations and efforts during their patrols. After the data from GPS units and the data collection forms are downloaded and stored in a computerized SMART database, one can assess anti-poaching work and see where patrol quality was efficient, where it is necessary to expand the patrol area, and what is the best way to use available resources. The SMART system reveals problem areas with intensive poaching and adjusts patrol strategy accordingly. And such monitoring, of course, must be on a regular basis, because SMART shows new threats and enables prompt response.

Besides providing material and technical support to protected areas, the Phoenix Fund also assists them to improve professional qualification of their personnel. It is known that tracking, intercepting, and arresting poachers is a risky business in itself, particularly as the Inspectors themselves may not always carry arms. More frustrating is the fact that many cases fail to reach court for prosecution due to administrative or procedural errors on the part of the protected area staff. This is usually some very minor detail, but significant enough to contravene the strict and complex regulations governing judicial process. And in this connection there was an urgent need to organize special training courses in order to increase the rate of successful prosecutions that can be made against poachers who are apprehended inside the protected area. The Phoenix Fund and Wildlife Conservation Society are always ready to assist the protected areas in training inspectors in judicial procedure. In addition, since the beginning of 2014, the Phoenix Fund has been helping to train environmental protection agencies employees to work with unmanned aerial vehicles (drones).

At present, the Phoenix Fund is closely cooperating with the following protected areas:

United Directorate of Lazovsky Nature Reserve and Zov Tigra National Park;

Sikhote-Alin Biosphere Nature Reserve.

See the video of patrolling the Anyuisky National Park taken in 2017, when a team of six rangers, one police officer and two Phoenix Fund employees went on a multi-day patrol to the remote upstream of Pikhtsa river. We invite you to join this trip to get an insight into the SMART law-enforcement work in the Anyuisky National Park.

Anti-poaching teams supported by Phoenix in the past: