Protection of Siberian Tiger and its Habitat

Geographical location:

Europe/Middle-East > Eastern Europe > Russian Federation

Amur or Siberian tiger (Panthera tigris altaica) in the Utyos rehabilitation center of the wild animals near Khabarovsk. Far East. Russian Federation.
© WWF-Canon / Vladimir FILONOV

Summary

Intense poaching and habitat loss are seriously threatening the survival of Siberian tigers in the wild.

This project seeks to:
- Conserve tiger populations and regional biodiversity by channelling funds to appropriate agencies to control widespread poaching of tigers and other wildlife.
- Collaborate with Russian scientists, conservationists, and local stakeholders in preparing and implementing habitat conservation plans and developing a framework for a comprehensive wildlife and resource management plan for the Amur region.
- Support educational programmes aimed at enhancing awareness of environmental and conservation issues in local communities.

Background

The Amur region of the Russian Far East contains the most biologically diverse forests in Russia. They are among the most diverse non-tropical forests in the world. Because much of the region has escaped periods of glaciation, it became a climatic refuge for numerous species and communities now found nowhere else in Russia, or the world.

This level of endemism, combined with the region's unique biogeographic location, has resulted in unusual assemblages of plants and animals. Siberian tigers, Amur leopards, and Himalayan black bears are found, together with reindeers, sables, wild boars, brown bears, lynx, and salmons. The forests contain numerous edible and medicinal plants, including wild berries, Siberian pine nuts, wild ginseng, other medicinal herbs, and mushrooms, providing natural resources for several indigenous populations.

The wildlife populations in the Amur region are declining rapidly in the face of intense poaching pressure and habitat loss. The threat posed to species such as the Siberian tiger and Amur leopard is of global significance. The Russian Far East region of Primorski Krai and Khabarovsk Krai represents the last remaining habitat of Siberian tigers. Current estimates of the number of tigers range from 200 to 300. Only strict protection measures for their population and habitat will allow recovery.

The current fast pace of economic deregulation and absence of long-term resource management plans are imposing new threats on the whole region, in particular on Siberian tigers. The current political and economic situation has resulted in an accelerated exploitation of resources in the region, among which poaching currently represents the most immediate threat to wildlife. Increasing numbers of tigers are killed for their pelts and tiger parts, especially bones. Tiger pelts fetch over USD 5,000, and bones up to USD 3,000 per kg, making them attractive items in this economically stressed region.

Unplanned industrial development, especially timber harvesting and mining, destroys or degrades the critical habitat of these animals. It is essential that a landscape-scale strategy for tiger conservation, incorporating a system of core reserves, habitat corridors, and buffer zones that allow varying degrees of resource exploitation, and indigenous reserves, be developed.

Objectives

- Conserve the natural habitat of the Siberian tiger.

- Maintain viable Siberian tiger populations.

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