WWF Joins Important
Siberian Tiger Survey
The first range-wide
survey of Siberian tigers in almost ten years will provide important
information about the species.
photo: WWF-Canon / Kevin Schafer
joined the Russian government and other conservation organizations in the
Russian Far East to launch the first range-wide survey of Amur, or Siberian,
tigers in almost a decade. The last count, done in 1995 and '96, found an
estimated 415-476 Amur tigers.
results of the latest survey will be released in the spring, after hundreds of
biologists, hunters and volunteers have spread out across Russia in
search of tiger tracks in the snow. Since the last survey, the population has
been under continuing threat from poaching, hunting and logging.
concerned that the population may be decreasing. In the last few years, we've
seen less of the prey tigers survive on, and continued poaching of
tigers," said Sybille Klenzendorf, lead scientist of WWF's tiger program.
"So this survey will also assess the numbers of prey -- like deer and wild
boar -- that tigers depend upon."
former Soviet system, a complex and well-regulated army of biologists and
professional outdoorsmen were sent into the forests to do the count. In the new
political and economic climate, such scientific endeavors are more difficult,
and the costs of doing such work have escalated dramatically. So a number of
organizations have teamed up to conduct the population count: Wildlife
Conservation Society, WWF, the Russian
Academy of Sciences and
the provincial governments, with additional support from Save the Tiger Fund,
the Liz Claiborne Art Ortenberg Foundation and 21st Century Tiger.
Fomenko, one of WWF's field staff and a survey coordinator: "We need this
information to obtain a complete understanding of the present state of the
Siberian tiger population -- both to assess whether our past efforts were
effective and to plan for future tiger conservation measures."