On the road to greater protection of the Amur tiger

  • April 28, 2017

Over the last few months, with your support, TigerTime has helped resolve two major access issues affecting the protection of the rare Amur tiger in the Primorsky krai region of the Russian Far East.

Working closely with NGO partners, TigerTime funding has supported the dismantling and rewilding of logging roads in Terney District and, further north, helped clear vital anti-poaching routes made impassable by the worst typhoon to have hit the area in over 40 years.

Dismantling abandoned logging roads

Prime habitat for the Amur tiger, the richly forested region of Terney has been subject to wide-spread logging operations.

“Logging roads have increased exponentially in Terney from c.228km in 1984 to over 6,278km in 2014,” explains TigerTime manager, Vicky Flynn. “These unofficial roads – that are no longer used by the logging companies – are open to the public and, with little capacity to monitor and control this access, the risk of forest fires, illegal logging and poaching create a very real threat to the survival of tigers and other wildlife in the area.”

Efforts to dismantle these roads had already begun and additional TigerTime funding helped to establish a working group to prioritize work on the road closures throughout 2017.

“This development is a tremendously important step towards reducing the vulnerability of tigers and the unique flora and fauna outside of protected areas,” says Vicky.

Clearing typhoon damaged roads

Last summer, the worst typhoon to hit the Primorsky krai region in 40 years caused extensive flooding. Homes, bridges and highways were damaged with fallen trees blocking many forest roads. During September and October teams struggled to clear the debris as they hurried to restore access to important guard posts and anti-poaching patrol routes within the Sikhote-Alin Nature Reserve which is home to at least 30 Amur tigers.

“Sadly, funding was not available to adequately maintain the forest roads that law-enforcement teams and tiger monitoring specialists use for their work. To ensure proper anti-poaching protection these roads must be in a drivable condition for patrol staff,” adds Vicky.

While the winter snows temporarily stopped work, by the end of March the team had cleared 75km of roads and 195km of trails enabling a full programme of anti-poaching patrols to resume.

TigerTime’s parent charity, the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (DSWF), has been working to protect Russia’s Amur tigers since the 1990s when rampant poaching reduced their numbers to as few as 100. Now, DSWF and TigerTime work together to protect a much healthier, but still hugely vulnerable, population of about 540 tigers. With your continuing support we are determined to do all we can to create protected, wild habitats for the survival of these extraordinary cats.

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