Russia and China to enhance protection for tigers and leopards
The parties have agreed to conduct joint monitoring of population numbers of the Amur tiger, Far Eastern leopard and their prey base, to set up information exchange and to enhance anti-poaching activities on both sides along Sino-Russian border.
The MoU for trans-boundary cooperation on the Amur tiger and Far Eastern leopard and their habitat conservation was signed on June 22nd in Harbin by the heads of the environment governance authorities of Primorsky Province of Russia and Heilongjiang Province of China with the assistance of WWF-Russia and WWF-China.
“Heilongjiang and Primorsky Provinces are the critical area for conservation of the Amur tiger and Far Eastern leopard. Meanwhile, it is the key economic zone faced with extensive exploitation by two countries. It is our common responsibility to promote the transboundary cooperation between Russia and China, to support sustainable development of the Amur-Heilong eco-region to ensure the health eco-system and meet long term interests of both sides,” said Mr. Dong Jie, Deputy Head of the of Heilongjiang Provincial Forestry Industry.
The General Administration of Heilongjiang Forestry Industry administers a quarter of Heilongjiang Province in North Eastern China, including Wandashan and Laoyeling areas, which are the main transboundary corridors for the transfers of the Amur tiger from Russia to China. The MOU was signed with the Wildlife and Hunting Department of Primorsky Province, which manages and supervised the wildlife resources of Primorsky Province in South Eastern Russia including Amur tigers and Far Eastern leopards.
“The MoU on transboundary cooperation on the Amur tiger and Far Eastern leopard signed between Heilongjiang and Primorsky Provinces for the first time is of a great importance for nature protection in the region. The newly achieved agreement allows the development of conservation cooperation on the whole border territory of Primorsky Province and two Provinces of China on the related subordinate territories,” said Head of the Wildlife and Hunting Department of Primorsky Province, Vladimir Vasilyev.
In October 2012 Sredneussuriisky Wildlife Refuge bordering Heilongjiang Province was established on the Russian side as the transboundary corridor for Amur tiger, connecting Strelnikov Mountain Range in Russia and Wandashan Mountain Range in China. In March a mature tiger male was recorded crossing the border in this area from Russia to China.
This winter the tracks of the Far Eastern leopard were registered for the first time over the past 20 years in Poltavsky Wildlife Refuge, which also borders Heilongjiang Province. One of the main aspects of the cooperation is to ensure safe transfers of Amur tigers and leopards from Russia to China and back, as well as to establish a protected area within Sino-Russian transboundary corridor.
“Unfortunately, there is a high risk that the animal will be killed due to high levels of poaching. This MoU will allow our colleagues to improve individual protection for each tiger and leopard wondering from one country to another,” Sergei Aramilev, Species Program Coordinator at WWF-Russia Amur branch.