Posted on 10 June 2007
The long-awaited Udege National Park in Russia's Far East is the second one of its kind created for Siberian tigers in the span of one week.
Vladivostok, Russia – Following nearly eight years of data collection, planning and negotiations between WWF and the Russian government, 88,600 hectares of one of the most biologically diverse provinces in Russia’s Far East — the Primorsky Province — were declared a national park.
Less than a week ago, Russia created the 82,152-hectare Zov Tigra National Park several hundred kilometres to the south.
The newly created Udege Legenda National Park, like the Zov Tigra, will help protect the home of the endangered Siberian, or Amur, tiger (Panthera tigris altaica
). The tiger species once numbered fewer than 50 individuals in the 1940s, but today has rebounded to approximately 500 individuals. There are believed to be two families of Siberian tigers in the park.
“There’s plenty to be worried about where tigers are concerned,” said Dr Darron Collins, managing director of WWF’s Amur-Heilong Programme. “But we can all sleep a little bit easier on the heels of Russia’s recent national park declarations.”
In addition to tigers, the park will protect other wildlife species, including brown and black bears, 30 species of endangered plants and extensive Korean pine forests.
It will also help preserve the cultural heritage of the Udege (pronounced OO-di-gay) people, an indigenous group numbering 1,650 people, who have for centuries depended on the area’s natural resources. An ancient settlement that was the northern capitol of the Churdgen Empire will benefit from the increased protection.
“The spiritual relationship between the Udege and tiger, or amba as the Udege say, is strong,” Dr Collins continued.
“We hope to work with the Russian government to help make Udege Legend National Park a model for demonstrating how conservation and cultural revitalization can strengthen each other.”
Udege Legenda National Park is the fourth of 21 protected areas planned for Russia by 2010.
“Udege is an important link in the chain of protected areas for tiger survival in Russia,” stressed Dr Yury Darman, director of WWF’s Russian Far East office.
“To further protect Russia’s tigers and their habitat, a third national park at Anyusky should be declared.”
For further information:
Yulia Fomenko, Head of Communications
WWF-Russia, Far Eastern Branch
Tel: +7 4232 414868