Wild cat protection discussed at CITES meeting in Sochi

Wild cat protection discussed at CITES meeting in Sochi

4 October 2018

A roundtable, Big Cats: Population Status and Protection Measures in Russia, was held as part of the 70th meeting of the Standing Committee of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). It was attended by over 70 experts from various countries, representing government bodies, protected areas, environmental non-profits and scientific communities.


The participants discussed the current status of populations and national programmes, as well as experience in preserving rare felines, such as the Amur tiger and snow, Far Eastern and Persian leopards.


Following the discussion, the experts agreed to exchange expertise, best practices and technologies, as well as to develop cross-border cooperation in protecting and studying big cats. In particular, they will promote cooperation between Land of the Leopard National Park in the Primorye Territory and the neighbouring protected areas in China, and speed up the process of establishing the Sailyugem–Silhem and Tunka– Khuvsgul cross-border nature reserves. In addition, Russian experts proposed creating a general international database to identify big cats in Asia.


“The data on separate felines are not unified: regions have their own databases, but there is no general one. The idea is to establish an international database that would hold information on various species. Speaking about the Russian-Mongolian reserve, it is necessary for coordinating work to preserve argali and snow leopards, from conducting counts to adopting legislative initiatives. There is already a draft document; our Mongolian colleagues only have to sign it,” said Denis Malikov, deputy director for research at Sailyugem National Park.


In addition, the parties decided to counter poaching and trafficking by organising regular seminars and training sessions and publishing the results of court hearings. Experts also suggested that customs and other regulatory bodies of the Standing Committee members join efforts to stop the reselling of items made from illegally hunted wild felines.


This year, Sochi hosted the CITES meeting on 1–5 October.