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Leopard news | Amur Information Center / Portal

Leopard news

On August 29 Sergei Ivanov, vice Prime Minister of the Russian Government, visited Kedrovaya Pad nature reserve and hold a special meeting to check how his orders on leopard conservation in southwest Primorye are being executed.

Russia s top leadership during the trip around the Russian Far East did not ignore the Amur leopard. Scientific data indicate there are not more than 40 leopards alive in the wild. Sergei Ivanov got interested in the fate of this rare cat in 2007 after watching a leopard documentary Throwing out a Challenge and meeting Kedrovaya Pad staff. And he did so not only ex officio but on the call of his heart. Vivid interest of a vested with broad powers person as a locomotive engine helped to get things moving and make an important step which WWF has been speaking about from 1999 – to declare unified specially protected nature territory for the Amur leopard.

It was the first task Sergei Ivanov encharged all interested Ministers and executive departments with in 2007; and the order has been executed. In 2008, a new protected area (PA) appeared on the map – Leopardovyi federal wildlife refuge combining two existing refuges (Barsovyi and Borisovskoye Plato) on the total area of 169 000 hectares. The new refuge is now managed by Kedrovaya Pad reserve and both are under the supervision of the Ministry of Natural Resources. Ivanov s second order was to provide the newly formed protected area with money, staff, infrastructure; and the third one was to prepare documentation for establishing Sino-Russian transboundary PA for leopard.

All these issues were in details discussed at the meeting between Sergei Ivanov, Sergei Darkin, Primorye Governor, and Igor Maidanov, deputy minister of the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources which took place on August 29 in Primorye.

“Recognizing of a new PA de jure is not enough for leopard conservation, - notes Sergei Khokhryakov, head of Kedrovya Pad reserve. - Infrastructure development is needed: premises, forestry units, ranger stations, staff, equipment, measures on reforestation, forest fire prevention. And this is money. Big money…We will not cope without Government assistance. Leopard has little time-to-go and we need to do everything quickly”.

The future of the Land of Leopard was also discussed. All present at the meeting including representatives of district and provincial authorities agreed with the necessity of reorganizing the unified PA into Land of Leopard National Park: only this PA type can ensure leopard protection and sustainable nature use. Economy-ecological feasibility study for Land of Leopard National Park creation has been already prepared by the Pacific Institute of Geography (The Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Science) in cooperation with WWF at the request of the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources. The planned national park will encompass Kedrovaya Pad reserve and Leopardovyi refuge which is planned to be enlarged to the south for 40 000 hectares to form ecological corridor along the Sino-Russian border.

“The most important task for today is receiving Governmental money by Kedrovaya Pad: the area of the reserve is enlarged 10 times but financing remains at the previous level, – says Yurii Darman, head of WWF-Russia s Amur branch. – It is necessary to hire new staff to properly protect the area. It is necessary to create good infrastructure and move the management office from a remote village to Barabash which is planned to be the center of the future national park. This issue, I hope, will be solved as big money is needed, hundreds millions rubles, and this is the level of the Russian Government”.  
Sergei Darkin, Primorye Governor, came forward with the initiative – to make leopard as a symbol for APEC-2012 Forum to be held in Vladivostok. Let us hope this will help in leopard conservation. And, as was promised by the Governor, documentaries of the Amur leopards made at the request of WWF will be broadcasted on Primorye TV. With Sergei Ivanov s assistance the whole Russia could watch them. And this is also very important as the Amur leopard is an asset of the whole country and people should know this.


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