The round table was attended by Minister of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation Sergey Donskoi and President of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Zhang Xinshen. The meeting was held within the framework of the World Congress on Protected Areas (SPAN) in Australia.
The problem of preserving rare felines turned out to be especially acute in the dialogue between the head of the Ministry of Natural Resources and the President of the IUCN, as a number of species of wild cats live on the border of Russia with other states. After discussing the issues of their preservation and cross-border cooperation in general, Donskoy and Xinshen visited a round table devoted to the cat of Russia.
At an open meeting, experts provided visitors with information on the status of the feline population in Russia - the Amur tiger, the Far Eastern leopard, the Pallas’s cat and the snow leopard.
"Some members of our audience were surprised by the very fact that the cats, traditionally considered inhabitants of the tropics, live in the severe climatic conditions of Russia," said Elena Salmanova, deputy director for research and environmental education of the Land of the Leopard National Park. "At the same time, a well-informed part of the audience appreciated our work on preserving wild cats."
According to Sergei Aramilev, director of the the Amur Tiger Center’s Primorye branch, one of the most important evidence of Russia's attention to the preservation of felines was the decision to create another specially protected natural area in Primorsky Krai.
"Despite the fact that Russia has already created an effective system of PAs, we do not stop there. Most recently, a decision was made to create the largest national park in the Amur tiger’s areal in the Bikin River basin. Its area is more than 1 million hectares, "said Sergei Aramilev. - This national park has been formed to preserve a unique natural complex, where the representatives of the local indigenous people - the Udege - and the tiger coexist harmoniously. "
The round table called "The Cats of Russia" aroused great interest among listeners: despite the fact that the event was held on Saturday evening, it was attended by about 100 foreign participants, and the hall could not accommodate all comers.
"According to the numerous requests of the participants of the Congress, a repetition of some presentations of the PAs of the Russian Federation will be held at the central exposition in the following days. The general opinion of the round table participants is that Russia, undoubtedly, managed to create an effective system for the conservation of rare animal species," said Dmitry Gorshkov, director of the Sikhote-Alin Reserve.
At the end of the meeting, the organizers summed up the results of a public vote for the name of a young tigress from the Sikhote-Alin Reserve and a snow leopard cub who lives in the Sayano-Shushensky Reserve. Most of the congress participants voted for the name “Sydney” for the leopard, in honor of the venue of the Congress. The tigress was named Victoria, in honor of one of the states of Australia and the famous Australian national park.
Along with the round tables, the Russian exposition, which is being presented in the central pavilion of the Olympic Park in Sydney, is also a success among the participants of the Congress. The flow of visitors does not stop until the closing of the pavilion: the participants of the Congress communicate with Russian specialists of the reserve business, watch video clips and virtual tours, take pictures with the symbols of Russia – the snow leopard, the Far Eastern leopard and the Amur tiger.
The main organizer of the Sixth World Congress on Protected Areas (IUCN World Park Congress) is the World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The Congress will last from 12 – 19 November in Sydney, Australia. Earlier, the Congress convened in South Africa - in 2003 and Venezuela in 1992.