Chinese nature reserves, Land of the Leopard exchange wild cat data

Chinese nature reserves, Land of the Leopard exchange wild cat data

20 October 2016

On 11-14 October, officials from five Chinese nature reserves, Land of the Leopard National Park and Primorye Territory Department of Hunting Supervision met in Vladivostok. Delegates from China's Laoyeling, Hunchun, Wangqing, Huangnihe and Dunhuang nature reserves and also the Wangqing Lanjia forest farm met with the Russian national park officials to share data from camera traps that recorded Far Eastern leopards and Amur tigers in 2013-2015. Russian specialists will analyse the data and draw conclusions on the rare cats' population in both countries.


"We had been looking forward to this meeting for a long time," said Yelena Shevtsova, Land of the Leopard's deputy director for research. "We did not only identify tigers and leopards in the photos but also prepared profiles and assigned general numbers to each animal. By using a common database, we will be able to keep track of the situation. Wild animals have no nationality, and nature has no state borders. Our countries are home to the world's only population of the rarest big cat, the Far Eastern leopard, and also the population of the Amur tiger. Only bilateral cooperation can help us achieve the desired result. We cannot act separately. Today we made a major step in the two countries' work. I am convinced that once the data has been analysed, we will get some good news about our beautiful cats."


Shevtsova's Chinese colleague Fan Jinfu, director of the Hunchun Nature Reserve, said the meeting was of tremendous importance.


"Our delegation has arrived to discuss joint efforts with Land of the Leopard in conserving tigers and leopards and their habitat to be able to understand better the changes in the wild predators' population and adjust our work accordingly and more accurately," he said. "We had in-depth discussion of the working issues with our Russian colleagues. We have taken a new step in our important work. We could see that the number of tigers and leopards in Russia and China is growing."


Chinese experts said they had achieved progress in tracking changes in wild predators' population and stepped up anti-poaching measures. As a result, security had been tightened in the areas inhabited by the Far Eastern leopards and Amur tigers.


During their visit to Primorye, the Chinese delegation met with the head of Primorye Territory Department of Hunting Supervision to discuss conserving the prey base of the leopard and tiger in the border areas and also continued monitoring of hoofed mammals' populations.


Previously, Land of the Leopard monitored the numbers of Far Eastern and Amur tiger population together with the Chinese side, but this time the data exchange took place directly between experts of the Russian and Chinese state specially protected areas. In February 2016, the Chinese government funded a project to establish a new specially protected area that would spread across the already existing nature reserves and conserve the wild cats' habitat in the Jilin and Heilongjiang provinces bordering on Land of the Leopard. The project of a national park is expected to cover an area of 1,500,000 hectares.