An international scientific-practical conference on the problems and prospects of protecting the Amur tiger in Russia began its work. To participate in it, leading experts on the topic “tiger” not only from Russia, but also from China, Korea and Japan came to Vladivostok.
The first day of the scientific conference dealt with the monitoring of the Amur tiger, including on the basis of data of full-scale accounting, which was held this winter in the Far East of Russia.
The scientific leader of the tiger survey - 2015 Vladimir Aramilev voiced the main monitoring results: 523-540 individuals live in the Far East. Such a “spread” is due to the detection of traces that were difficult to measure due to the weak imprint on the snow, the looseness of the snow cover, etc. In the Primorsky Krai, there are 417-425 individuals: 100 of them are males, 169-172 are females, 72 are tiger cubs, 76-81 are undetermined; traces of 100-109 individuals were found in the Khabarovsk Krai: males 30-33, females 36-38, cubs 26-28, 8-10 indeterminate; 4 individuals live in the JAR: 2 males, 2 females; in the Amur region: 2 individuals, 1 female, 1 male.
“Today we are talking about some stabilization of the Amur tiger population, there are failures in some parts of the tiger range, where there could be an increase in numbers, but this did not happen,” Vladimir Aramilev, Ph.D.. Director of the Joint Directorate of Lazovsky Nature reserve and Zov Tigra National Park, scientific supervisor of tiger accounting 2015.
The data obtained in the course of continuous accounting of the Amur tiger was also calculated using a special algorithm, which gave a figure of 562 individuals. As one of its developers, Andrei Murzin, an employee of the Pacific Institute of Geography of the Far East Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, noted, the computer model processed several parameters (heel size, average daily distances, habitat, etc.) and produced a figure similar to that obtained by an expert, indicating the reliability of data. Apparently, the number of tigers is in the range of 500-550 individuals.
In addition, during a continuous survey in some specially protected natural territories and hunting estates of the Primorsky Krai, the Amur tiger was counted with the help of photo caps. A total of 343 pairs of camera traps were found. According to his results, for example, in the Lazovski Nature reserve, the trace record gave a result of 17 individuals, and a photograph account of 16 individuals. Experts came to the conclusion that trace recording data are completely comparable with data from camera traps. The method of accounting for the trail is cheaper in comparison with the method of accounting for automatic cameras (one of its cost is estimated at about 25 thousand rubles). However, for the annual monitoring it is advisable to use the combined method, which will give more reliable information about the rare predator population.
As the director of the Primorsky branch of the Amur Tiger Center, Sergey Aramilev, said, in the future, large-scale tiger accounting should be economically feasible.
“The existing method of accounting and monitoring of the Amur tiger population, in general, has confirmed its viability. Nevertheless, there are objective reasons for making some changes, so that the state monitoring and accounting of the Amur tiger is economically feasible and gives enough data to make timely and correct management decisions by the state. In addition, the approval of a balanced approach is required, which would take into account the use of various methods, which should be reflected in the new methodological recommendations, where a separate block will be spelled out, for example, the technique of using photo caps,” commented Sergey Aramilev.
Most experts were in favor of conducting a large-scale survey of the Amur tiger and Amur leopard once every five years, rather than ten, as is happening now. This initiative has already been supported by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Ecology of the Russian Federation.
In addition, careful training of accountants is necessary - such work should be carried out as early as possible, for example, within a year and a half. This time should be enough for training accounting professionals, debugging the work of responsible institutions.
Representatives from China reported that next year in this country they also plan to conduct a continuous record of the rare cats of the planet that live in these places. Such work has never been done in China, which is why they came to the conference.
“It is planned to conduct a similar accounting of the Amur tiger and the Amur leopard every five years. The place of registration will be Heilongjiang Province, then it will be added to the accounting data in Jilin Province on selected model sites. The preparatory work has already begun, but there is no consensus yet on how to conduct it - using photo traps, DNA data, etc., perhaps, like in Russia, we will conduct it comprehensively,” commented Jiang Guanshun, a representative of the Institute for Studying Feline Forest Institute. Harbin (Feline Research Center).
The results of the conference on accounting and monitoring of the Amur tiger will be sent to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation for consideration.