13 October 2013, 15:39

A new national park where Amur tigers are going to be bred will be opened in Primorye, the Putin administration informed. At the moment, the largest population of this species lives in the Russian Far East. Indigenous people residing in Primorsky Krai will take part in managing the park and reducing extinction of the Amur tiger species included on the the IUCN Red List.

The Amur tiger is the strongest felid and the only one managed to adapt oneself to life in the taiga snows. However, over the last century its population reduced by dozens of times. Today around 90 percent of Amur tigers, which is almost 500 individuals, live In the Far Eastern taiga in Russia. The local authorities and residents do their best to increase a breeding adult population. Starting 1992, a federal program of Amur tiger conservation was introduced. Thanks to the program extinction of the predator was stopped, Sergei Aramylev, the coordinator of the Biodiversity Conservation Program, says.

"A series of measures was planned and approved by the government. There are several general directions. First of all, we should put an end to direct extermination of Amur tigers and to any kind of illegal hunting and poaching. We should also increase the ungulates population and conserve natural habitats and their quality as there should be many oaks and cedars growing in the forests," Aramylev adds.

The largest untouched area of cedar broad-leafed forests is situated in the Bikin River basin in Primorsky Krai. The area of more than 4,000 km2 is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was decided to create a new national park in this unique territory, Mikhail Kreidlyn, the head of the Natural Areas Conservation Program, says.

"The south of Far East and Primorsky Krai are very valuable. It’s a unique natural area. The Bikin basin is unique because people have never farmed there. Lumbermen, gold-miners attempted to occupy these territories but we managed to save them," Mikhail Kreidlyn notes.

The native population, Udege, who have been living on the Bikin River banks since the dawn of time, stood up actively for the forests. That’s why the Udege will be taking part in managing the park. In order to coexist peacefully with tigers, the taiga will be divided into three areas, Sergei Aramylev says.

"Udege are forest people who since the dawn of time have been living near the tigers, ungulates and woods. The main purpose of the park is not to prohibit to these people to live there or to ban their activities but to conserve the habitat. It goes without saying that we should come to an agreement on all the conditions with people who live in this territory. Areas, where the Udege farm, will be mapped and a list of what is permitted and prohibited there will be created. One can’t cut down trees there but can hunt in a traditional way. Areas, where people don’t farm, are named protected areas. In areas like these everything is forbidden," Aramylev concludes.

At the moment, there is no direct threat to the Amur tiger population extinction but we still should protect it.

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