Sergei Ivanov oversees the Far Eastern leopard conservation programme and is the chairman of the board of trustees of the independent non-profit organisation Eurasian Centre for Leopard Preservation and Rehabilitation.
On September 8, 2011, Sergei Ivanov visited the Leopardovy Reserve. A long-awaited event took place on the same day – the collaring of a Far Eastern leopard with a special satellite transmitter as part of the Russian Geographical Society programme for the conservation of rare species. There are about 40 species of these noble animals in the wild, and catching one of them is a great success.
Camera traps had been laid at the Leopardovy Reserve, which is adjacent to the Kedrovaya Pad Nature Park. Staff at the reserve checked the traps when they made their rounds each morning. When a leopard was found in one of them, project head Sergei Ivanov, Deputy Director of the Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution Vyacheslav Rozhnov, Primorsky Territory Vice-Governor Viktor Myasnik, Russian Geographical Society Executive Director Larisa Ovchinnikova and Director of the Leopardovy and Kedrovaya Pad nature reserves Sergei Khokhryakov, went to the site of the trap.
The leopard had been caught in a trap by the village of Ovchinnikovo, 45 km southwest of Vladivostok. Staff at the reserve ran the necessary tests on the leopard after tranquilising it. The animal was then collared with a GLONASS transmitter, with Sergei Ivanov standing by. Experts will now regularly monitor the movements of the two-year-old 28-kilogram female leopard called Slavyanka – named after a nearby village. Experts say the collar is harmless and its service life is about six months, after which it will just drop off by itself.
At a meeting after the collaring, Vyacheslav Rozhnov described the methods the Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution uses to study the leopard and said that the first study results would be available in about two to two-and-a-half years. Sergei Ivanov then took the floor and reiterated the idea he had proposed earlier – establishing a large Russian national park in Primorye called Leopard Land, combining a number of protected areas. An agreement about the park’s boundaries is already in place between game management organisations, military bases and the Primorye Territory authorities, and it includes all the adjoining border areas. There is an understanding of the importance of maintaining a closed ecosystem in the reserve. An agreement with China on the trans-border status of the protected area is being drafted – in the next few years, China will create nine border sanctuaries to protect Amur tigers and Far Eastern leopards.
In turn, staff at the reserve spoke about several pressing issues, including the dangers of confronting poachers. They talked about the need for changes in legislation, since forest rangers would not even have the right to check a car with paws sticking out of it – even in this case, they would need to call the police and witnesses, who are never going to be close at hand in the forest.
At the end of the meeting, Ivanov presented reserve employees with watches as gifts, urging the staff to continue their work in protecting their native environment, and discussed plans with Sergei Khokhryakov to attract tourists and create tourist routes and suitable infrastructure. He then left for Moscow to report to President Vladimir Putin, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Russian Geographical Society, who has supervised the RGS programme to protect rare species since 2009, including the Strategy for the Preservation of the Far Eastern Leopard in Russia, approved in 1998.