About 16 adult tigers live in the Lazovsky Nature Reserve and Call of the Tiger National Park

About 16 adult tigers live in the Lazovsky Nature Reserve and Call of the Tiger National Park

5 April 2021

There are about 16 adult tigers inhabiting the Lazovsky Nature Reserve and Call of the Tiger National Park in the Primorye Territory, according to the annual winter tracking results from the protected areas.


A winter track survey is an important activity for monitoring the population size of different animals in protected areas.


Every year, once enough snow falls, nature reserve employees follow routes through the protected areas and record all the animal tracks they find.


This year’s winter survey took place on 9-12 February in the Lazovsky Nature Reserve. Employees from the reserve’s security and research departments traversed 21 routes with a total length of 193 km. They detected the presence of nine adult tigers in this nature reserve.


Fourteen people took part in the survey in Call of the Tiger National Park on 18-22 February. They drove two snowmobiles covering   a total of 162 km on 18 routes and recorded seven adult tigers.


Vladimir Aramilev, director of the reserve and park’s joint administration, said that bad weather, in particular the unstable snow cover, made the count more difficult this year.


“According to our methodology, we must wait 5-7 days after a snowfall, so that the tigers have time to walk around and leave tracks. This became possible only in February, and the conditions were far from ideal. We recorded nine tigers in the reserve, which is one animal fewer than our annual average has been for many years. Yet, we do not think the number of tigers has gone down because this figure is within the margin of error and the survey routes did not cover the boar concentrations in the reserve where uncounted tigers could also live. We can draw more precise conclusions after analysing our camera trap data in May and June,” Aramilev said.


He also spoke about the survey in Call of the Tiger National Park, which took place in even more difficult conditions, meaning that its data is not final, either.


“We counted seven tigers, which reflects the annual average for many years, but again the survey routes did not reach difficult-to-access areas of the park’s cedar and broadleaf forests, where boar concentrations are and where some tigers are also likely to be. This is why some figures may be too low. Recently we received a message from rangers who visited the Ussuri River valley after the survey and found fresh tracks of a male tiger and a female tiger that were not included in the count. We are waiting for the camera trap data to get a real picture of the tiger numbers,” Aramilev noted.


During the count, in addition to the endangered predator, researchers collected the latest data on the number of hoofed animals in both protected areas. They recorded an increase in the number of Manchurian wapiti and sika deer (by 1.3-1.4 times as compared to 2020) in both the reserve and the national park. The boar population in the reserve remained at the level of the past few years, whereas specialists did not find boar tracks in the national park because these ungulates concentrate in difficult-to-access areas.


Run by a joint administration, the Lazovsky Nature Reserve and Call of the Tiger National Park are key federal protected areas in the tiger habitat. They preserve the unique nature of the southeastern slope of Sikhote-Alin, the home of the Amur tiger and other rare animals.


The Amur Tiger Centre gives the nature reserve and national park major support for their charter activities and the development of infrastructure to protect the areas and promote ecotourism. The centre provides them with the equipment needed to carry out effective work.