Russia and China to create a transboundary reserve for tigers and leopards

Russia and China to create a transboundary reserve for tigers and leopards

7 August 2023

The world's first transboundary protected area for Amur tigers and Far Eastern leopards will be created on the border of China and Russia's Primorye Territory. The Government of the Russian Federation has approved a draft agreement with China on the establishment of Land of Big Cats.


According to Government Directive No 2029-r dated 29 July 2023, the reserve will consist of Land of the Leopard National Park and the Kedrovaya Pad Nature Reserve in Russia and China’s Northeast Tiger and Leopard National Park. The agreement includes the creation of a unified wildlife monitoring system, the exchange of scientific data, international work to combat poaching and forest fires, and the development of environmental education and ecotourism.


Established in 2012 in Primorye, Land of the Leopard National Park is a federal specially protected natural area, which contains the core of the world's only population of the Far Eastern leopard, one of the rarest animals. It is also home to the largest population of Amur tigers on the planet. The strong protection of the territory and the supplemental feeding of ungulates allow these predators to coexist without conflict. Often tigers and leopards walk along the same paths and appear in front of camera traps in Land of the Leopard in close succession. Thanks to conservation work in Russia, the populations of both predators have tripled, and over time, they began to settle in the neighbouring provinces of China, Jilin and Heilongjiang. In 2017, China also created a national park that shares a 280-km border with Land of the Leopard. Land of Big Cats will cover 1.8 million hectares.


According to the latest data, scientists count 125 leopards and 58 tigers on the Russian side, and 60 leopards and 40 tigers on the Chinese side. However, the numbers have not been summed up, since a significant part of wild animals live simultaneously in both countries, not seeing the state border as an obstacle. Scientists will determine the total number of the global Far Eastern leopard population and the local tiger group after the transboundary reserve is created.


“The cooperation between Land of the Leopard and China’s national park has a long and fruitful history. Since 2019, the parks have maintained direct contacts, exchanged delegations, and signed a protocol on cooperation and a joint action plan. The creation of a transboundary reserve at the government level of the two countries will elevate this work to new heights, significantly increasing the effectiveness of interaction. Today, the future of rare animals depends on the joint efforts of the two countries,” said Viktor Bardyuk, director of Land of the Leopard.


The Government directive instructs the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to sign an agreement on the creation of a reserve upon reaching an agreement with the Chinese side and allows for minor changes to the document.