AboutZoos, Since 2008


The 2015 Amur tiger cen­sus in the Russ­ian Far East is on its way

pub­lished 13 Feb­ru­ary 2015 | mod­i­fied 13 Feb­ru­ary 2015

A simul­ta­ne­ous full range Amur tiger sur­vey has recently started in Pri­morsky Province on 31 Jan­u­ary. The launch date of this key event in tiger research was deter­mined by the fresh snow that fell that week.

Amur Tiger footprintDur­ing the cen­sus up to about two thou­sand peo­ple walk tran­sects through the for­est almost simul­ta­ne­ously. The total length of sur­vey tran­sects will reach 15 thou­sand kilo­me­tres, which is equal to the dis­tance from Vladi­vos­tok to Lon­don and back! 150,000 km2 of tiger habi­tats will be cov­ered, which his is more than three times the size of the Netherlands!

In Rus­sia a simul­ta­ne­ous full range Amur tiger cen­sus is held every 10 years. Accord­ing to the last cen­sus, con­ducted in 2005, there were an esti­mated 423502 Amur tigers in the south of the Russ­ian Far East. This fig­ure com­prises 95% of the pop­u­la­tion of this this sub­species on the planet.

In 2005, the cen­sus was car­ried out by WWF Rus­sia and Wildlife Con­ser­va­tion Soci­ety (WCS), with the sup­port of the Russ­ian Acad­emy of Sci­ences. The cen­sus of 2015 is organ­ised by the Min­istry of Nat­ural Resources and Ecol­ogy of the Russ­ian Fed­er­a­tion, with the sup­port of the “Amur Tiger Cen­tre” and WWF. The sci­en­tific coor­di­na­tion is led by the Pacific Insti­tute of Geog­ra­phy of the Far East­ern Branch of the Russ­ian Acad­emy of Sciences.

The field work­ers will record the loca­tion of the striped cats, iden­tify their age and gen­der by the size of the paw print, and deter­mine the size of their lit­ters (num­ber of cubs). These data, as well as a vari­ety of other infor­ma­tion about the tiger, its prey and other com­pet­ing preda­tors will be accu­mu­lated in track­ers’ diaries and later will become a basis for a dig­i­tal database.

In this video the basics for track­ing Amur tigers are explained:

(Source: zovtv YouTube channel)

Pavel Fomenko, bio­di­ver­sity con­ser­va­tion pro­gramme coor­di­na­tor at WWF Rus­sia Amur branch, is one of 23 coor­di­na­tors of this major event. He is in charge of con­duct­ing the cen­sus in the hard­est and the most inter­est­ing area — in the south­west­ern Pri­morye, which is home to both the Amur tiger (Pan­thera tigris altaica) and Amur leop­ard (Pan­thera par­dus ori­en­talis).

This year in the south­west­ern Pri­morye not only tiger will be counted. Another hero of the sur­vey will be the Amur leopard
Pavel Fomenko »

Accord­ing to Pavel Fomenko, who has a 30-​years’ expe­ri­ence in the tiger cen­sus and mon­i­tor­ing activ­i­ties, As the weather con­di­tions dif­fer sig­nif­i­cantly on such a huge ter­ri­tory, with heavy snows in the north of Pri­morsky and Khabarovsky Provinces and the fear of rain in the south­ern Pri­morye, we have decided to con­duct the research in stages start­ing from the south upward”.

The cen­sus results will enable the sci­en­tists to assess the cur­rent sta­tus of the Amur tiger and will give them the unique chance to analyse what has occurred over the last ten years and how effec­tive efforts were to pro­tect the species. The interim results of the cen­sus will be summed up by the end of May 2015 with the final report to be released in Octo­ber 2015.

The cen­sus will help gov­ern­ment agen­cies and non-​governmental organ­i­sa­tions to coor­di­nate efforts in con­ser­va­tion of rare ani­mals and the entire unique ecosys­tem of the south­ern Far East.

It is likely that the Strat­egy of the Amur Tiger Con­ser­va­tion in Rus­sia will be amended based on the data received dur­ing the tiger census.

{Source: WWF Rus­sia news release, 28.01.2015)

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Goal: 7000 tigers in the wild

Tiger range countries map

Tiger map” (CC BY 2.5) by Sander­son et al., 2006.

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