Amur tiger count wraps up in Bikin National Park

Amur tiger count wraps up in Bikin National Park

20 June 2018

Researchers have finished retrieving trail camera images in Bikin National Park.  


The staff will soon know the number of striped predators inhabiting 2,000 square kilometres of the park. The data will help to estimate the number of tigers living in the entire protected area.


“Modern technologies make it possible to obtain up-to-date data. They also help to motivate and engage young people, including indigenous minorities living in this area. It is thanks to the involvement of local hunters that we are able to mount trail cameras in very interesting places: no one knows the terrain better than them,” said Alexei Kudryavtsev, director of Bikin National Park.


Between November 2017 and February 2018, the park’s research staff installed 68 trail cameras, 30 of which the Amur Tiger Centre purchased and handed over in 2017.


“Trail cameras are capturing more animal species that inhabit the park but earlier eluded the cameras. Today we have archived photographs of arctic hares, yellow-throated martens, musk deer and Amur leopard cats,” said Vladimir Popov, a research fellow. “Some images are particularly gratifying, for example one with a tigress and two cubs devouring a boar killed by a male tiger. Thanks to the strategic positioning of the cameras, we now have a range of interesting photos, including those of three yellow-throated martens at once,  a tiger taking a nap right in front of the camera, and others.”


“Bikin National Park is a monitoring site. But counting tigers in the entire is costly, and therefore the surveys only cover 20 percent of the tiger range each year. These areas, some of which are classified as protected areas, are where data are collected annually not only on the tiger but also the state of its food supply and habitat. In winter, the focus was on tiger tracks, and by mid-June we finished collecting Amur tiger images from trail cameras. Soon we will compare the Bikin numbers with the data from all monitoring sites, and thus will know the trend, I mean whether the tiger population is stable, or growing, or  shrinking,” said Sergei Aramilev, general director of the Amur Tiger Centre.


Bikin National Park is a key habitat of the Amur tiger. It is one of the few places where a number of Amur tigers survived in the mid-20th century, a circumstance that made it possible to restore their population in Russia. According to the latest statistics, there are over 40 Amur tigers in Bikin, or 10 percent of the world population. Bikin National Park has secured support from the Amur Tiger Centre to preserve the key habitats of these unique wild cats.