Head of WWF Russia Amur branch honoured
The international Fred Packard Award is presented to individuals for outstanding services and commitment to the enhancement of protected areas. It is named after Fred Packard, who served as Secretary to the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas in the early 1970s, and had bequeathed an endowment to establish an award in recognition of “valor”.
Dr. Darman has devoted 35 years of his life struggling for the creation of a network of protected areas in Russia Far East. His inspirational leadership has led to the inclusion of more than four million hectares in new protected areas. Many of these protected areas are the habitat of the endangered Amur tiger and Amur leopard. Therefore, in many respect, it is thanks to Dr. Darman’s efforts that many endangered species in the Russian Far East, including the Amur Tiger, are also protected. In all, 61 new protected areas were created within the Amur river basin under Dr. Darman's leadership at WWF Russia’s Amur branch. One of Dr. Darman’s best achievements is perhaps the creation of the Land of the Leopard National Park.
“It was Yury Darman’s idea to get the Land of Leopard National Park created when many of us were doubtful this was possible,” said Eugeny Shvarts, WWF Russia’s Director of Conservation Policy.
Twelve years of grueling hard work and perseverance paid off when the park was finally established in April this year. Under Dr Darman’s leadership, both ecologists and volunteers had fought against the unlawful forest cutting in the area. The park covers an area of more than 260,000 hectares and has the capacity to ensure the survival of at least 50 Amur leopards as well as 10 Amur tigers, that are key to the neighbouring Changbaishan tiger population in northeast China. Recent camera trap photos taken of an Amur tiger in Changbaishan proved the extend of the tiger’s range stretches into this inner mountainous area, which is part of the Amur-Heilong Tiger Landscape located on the China-Russia border.
“We are very happy that Yury has won this prestigious award,” said Mr. Shvarts.
Dr. Darman is only the third Russian to receive the award. Previous award winners from Russia were Vasily Krinitsky, head of the nature protected area management department of Glavpriroda (the former Soviet Union’s main administration for zapovedniks or network of Russian nature reserves) in 1992, and Vsevolod Stepanitsky, who now heads the system of protected areas in Russia’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Ecology, in 2004.
The other Fred Packard Award winners this year are Ibrahim Bello from Niger, and Julia Miranda Londono and Antonio Negrete from Columbia. They received their awards at the IUCN World Conservation Congress held this month in Jeju, Korea.