We recently collected images from camera traps placed in Bastak Nature Reserve in the Jewish Autonomous Oblast, and were thrilled to see our old friend Zolushka (“Cinderella” in Russian). As was mentioned in previous updates, Zolushka was rescued as an orphaned cub in Primorye two years ago, and was released back into the wild in Bastak after a year-long rehabilitation period. Our colleagues and Bastak staff work monitor camera traps regularly—this involves installation and periodic checks to replace batteries and download photographs. This frequent monitoring allows us to receive important and timely data on the status of different animals in the reserve—first and foremost the young tigress Zolushka. She looks healthy and well-fed, meaning that she survived the most difficult season of the year for animals—winter. Read more here
Our program to study and develop management recommendations for musk deer began in 2010 as a joint effort with the Sikhote-Alin Biosphere Reserve (where the study is based) the Pacific Institute of Geography, the Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution.
Our study area is focused in the northeastern portion of Sikhote-Alin Reserve. Data on musk deer ecology are collected using a variety of methods, including radio tracking, snow tracking, and camera trapping. Six animals have been tagged with collars and monitored daily since 2010; at present we are monitoring three individuals. Radio tracking allows us to understand home range sizes required by musk deer, habitat requirements, daily travel distances, behavior, food habits, and daily activity patterns. Read more here
The Wildlife Conservation Society’s Russia Program and the Sikhote-Alin Biosphere Zapovednik (SABZ) have jointly surveyed Amur tigers on SABZ territory using camera traps since 2006. On a recent routine camera trap check, it was discovered that one of the resident females, Varvara, has a new neighbor. This previously-unseen female was first photographed in November 2013. The territory she settled was once occupied by Varvara, as two years ago the tiger population in the reserve crashed and Varvara suddenly had an 800 km2 territory all to herself (which is approximately twice the normal home range size for a female Amur tiger). When Varvara gave birth to cubs (in 2012), her movements became more restricted as it likely proved impossible to patrol such a large territory and care for her young at the same time. Her prolonged absence apparently did not pass without notice, and hence the appearance of this new tigress. Read more
WCS Russia staff captured an incapacitated Amur tiger in the Amur region of the Russian Far East, but what ails the tiger is still a mystery. Sunday evening WCS staff members Nikolai and Alexander Rybin assisted in immobilizing the cat a second time to obtain x-rays and samples needed to determine whether diseases are affecting the tiger.
Although 300-400 tigers live in Khabarovskii and Primorskii Provinces of the Russian Far East, tigers disappeared from the more western Amur Province more than 30 years ago. Yet WCS received the unusual request to assist the Russian government agency Inspection Tiger to track down and capture a wounded tiger reported in the region. WCS has the only specialists in the Russian Far East trained in the capture and immobilization of the big cats. Read more
In mid-November 2013, the Wildlife Conservation Society’s office in Vladivostok received a request from the Ministry of Natural Resources of Khabarovskii Province to assist in capturing a conflict tiger in the village of Sukpai. This tiger had been preying upon village dogs for weeks, and the locals there were too frightened to go outdoors at night. News of this tigers exploits were a regular feature on the local news in Khabarovskii Krai, raising concerns amongst many local people even beyond Sukpai.
The Rybin brothers, Aleksandr and Nikolai, are WCS’s capture specialists. They have extensive experience in the capture and immobilization of large predators (tigers, leopards, bears, etc.), and have assisted provincial and federal authorities in human-tiger conflict situations for years. They quickly collected the necessary equipment and headed to Khabarovsk. Read more here.
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