Amur tiger back in the wild


This video says about itself:

19 June 2015

A three year old Amur tiger has been successfully captured, collared and released into a mountainous region in the Russian Far East. The young male was identified as a ‘conflict tiger’ in a prey depleted area but rather than confining him to a life of captivity, the Russian government opted to give him a second chance. – See more here.

From Wildlife Extra about this:

WWF films tiger being released back to the wild

WWF has filmed an Amur Tiger being released back into the wild after spending time in a wild animal rehabilitation centre in the Russian Far East.

The tiger is a young male called Uporny, who was captured in November 2014 after being identified as a ‘conflict’ tiger.

He had been living in an area where there was a lack of prey and had killed dogs to survive. There were also fears that he could come into conflict with humans in a nearby town.

After undergoing the necessary health checks in a wild animal rehabilitation centre in the Russian Far East, Uporny was released into a sparsely inhabited mountainous area.

Uporny’s new home is an area with a good source of prey. It’s also home to a female Amur tiger, which provides hope that Uporny will not only continue to live wild and free, but also breed – contributing to the recovering tiger population in Russia.

The Russian government Forest Department (Ministry of Natural Resource of Khabarovsky Province) organised and implemented the translocation operation with the help of WWF and the Amur Tiger Center.

“This is a very rare piece of footage, showing the release of a healthy, powerful male tiger back into the wild, where he belongs,” says Rebecca May, Asia Regional Manager at WWF-UK.

“A huge team effort and great expertise was involved, including that of colleagues in WWF Russia. We wish him well in his new home.”

For his release into the wild, the tiger was fitted with a lightweight radio collar. The collar has a special function that allows it to drop off when the tracking team are satisfied with his progress.

Having been flagged as a potential conflict tiger, Uporny will be monitored until he is well established in his new area. For the first month, a team of specialists will be tracking his location and eating habits on a constant basis, using GPS data sent from the collar as well as tracking him on the ground.

Once the collar detaches, he will be monitored using camera traps and the recording of his pugmarks.

Mountain hare survives avalanche, video


This June 2015 video from Russia is called Avalanche! Run Rabbit Run! Original Video By Helipro.

On the Pacific peninsula Kamchatka in north-east Russia, a cameraman was filming a snowboarder. The snowboarder inadvertently caused an avalanche.

The snowboarder avoided the avalanche. A mountain hare jumped right into the avalanche and survived.

Snow leopard discovery in Siberia


This video is called Silent Roar: Searching for the Snow Leopard (HD Nature Documentary).

From Wildlife Extra:

Photo proof of snow leopards in newly created refuge in Siberia

Camera trap images have been taken of snow leopards in the newly created National Park of Sylyugem National Park in the Altai mountains of Siberia.

Aleksei Kuzhlekov, a national park researcher, reports that, “four pictures of snow leopard were taken at different times, probably of three or four individuals”.

The Saylyugem National Park was created five years ago to protect wildlife in that region of Siberia, especially the snow leopard and argali mountain sheep, in an area totaling 118,380 hectares.

The creation of the reserve was much needed, because poachers had killed more than 10 snow leopards in the area in the 1990s alone, to sell their pelts and body parts on the black market for Chinese medicine.

The snow leopard is in the endangered category on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species with as few as 4,000 left in the world, of which only 2,500 are likely to be breeding.

The head of the local conservation department, Igor Ivanitsky, adds: “We were able to place the cameras in the right place by painstakingly working out the movements routes of the cats.

“Being then so successful with our camera trapping efforts tells us that the park is their main home and hunting ground.

“Park staff have also found snow leopard tracks and scats (droppings) in several places around the national park, giving further evidence that the big cats are thriving in their newly created refuge.”

Dr. Matthias Hammer, Executive Director of Biosphere Expeditions, which assisted in the creation of the new National Park says he is delighted with the news.

“We spent ten years working in the Altai, researching snow leopard presence, building local capacity and trying to create economic incentives for local people to keep their snow leopard neighbours alive.

“When we started, there was no national park, little awareness, research or infrastructure, and rampant poaching.

“Now we have a national park, national park staff, anti-poaching patrols, several research initiatives, much more awareness and many ways for local people to benefit from the presence of the snow leopard.

“Poaching continues to be a threat, as is the Altai gas pipeline, but all in all this is a remarkable turnaround and success story, and we are very proud to have played our part in this.

“We’ve had many successes through citizen science voluntourism over the years and this is yet another excellent illustration of how citizen science-led conservation expeditions can make a genuine difference.”

For more information visit Sailugemsky National Park and Biosphere Expeditions.

Russian gray whale Varvara, longest mammal migration


This video from the USa is called Gray Whale Migration.

From Treehugger.com:

Longest mammal migration ever recorded measures in at 14,000 miles

Melissa Breyer

April 16, 2015

And the remarkable journey is raising questions about the status of a critically endangered whale species.

In a study using satellite-monitored tags to track three western gray whales, a team of U.S. and Russian researchers recorded a stunning round-trip trek of 14,000 miles. The trio traveled from their primary feeding ground off of Sakhalin Island in Russia across the Pacific Ocean and down the west coast of California to Baja, Mexico and back home again.

One of the whales, dubbed Varvara by the scientists, visited the three major breeding areas for eastern gray whales, which are found off North America.

For a long time it was believed that western gray whales had gone extinct, but a small group was discovered in Russia off Sakhalin Island; they now number around 150 individuals and have been monitored by scientists from Russia and the U.S. since the 1990s. Meanwhile, populations of eastern gray whales were also in a tight spot, but conservation efforts have brought them back – today they are believed to have a population of some 18,000.

But here’s why Varvara’s visit to the eastern gray whales is interesting. Not all experts believe that the two species are in fact distinct, separate species. A number of scientists have proposed that western and eastern gray whale populations are not isolated and that the gray whales found in Russian waters are a part of an eastern population that is restoring its former range.

“The fact that endangered western gray whales have such a long range and interact with eastern gray whales was a surprise and leaves a lot of questions up in the air,” said Bruce Mate, director of the Marine Mammal Institute at Oregon State University and lead author on the study. “Past studies have indicated genetic differentiation between the species, but this suggests we may need to take a closer look.”

“The ability of the whales to navigate across open water over tremendously long distances is impressive and suggests that some western gray whales might actually be eastern grays,” Mate said. “But that doesn’t mean that there may not be some true western gray whales remaining.

He adds, “If so, then the number of true western gray whales is even smaller than we previously thought.”

Does this spell doom for the western whales? Protecting them has proven challenging. Five western grays have perished in Japanese fishing nets within the last 10 years and their feeding grounds off Japan and Russia include fishing areas, shipping corridors, and oil and gas production – as well as future sites oil sites. But with this new research, hopefully fresh data and visibility will inspire some momentum in conservation efforts. With so few of these wandering giants left, and maybe even fewer than we thought, the time is now.

Endangered wildlife art exhibition in London


Amur tiger, by Katya Krasnaya

From Wildlife Extra:

International Fund for Animal Welfare supports endangered wildlife art exhibition

An exhibition entitled Exposed by St Petersburg artist Katya Krasnaya, is open to the public at the Erarta Galleries London.

The gallery is dedicated to showcasing the work of Russian contemporary artists, and this exhibition is one of pop art and graffiti-inspired paintings of endangered animals.

The artist has used spray-painting coupled with fine art techniques to create animal portraits include the rare Amur tiger, beluga whale, hawksbill sea turtle, rhino and polar bear.

Krasnaya says: “Almost everything inspires me. I divide my inspiration into types. The first one is natural, when you see all the shapes of our planet, from animals to hurricanes.”

The exhibition is supported by animal welfare charity, International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), which has projects in more than 40 countries and rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals and campaigns for the protection of wildlife and habitats.

As well as a variety of ongoing projects in the UK, IFAW is currently also engaged with a number of important campaigns in Russia.

For example, it has been working with local partners to release six Amur tigers into the wild in forests in the far east of the country.

IFAW also runs the Orphan Bear Rescue Centre and carries out scientific observational research on critically endangered western gray whales and threatened beluga whales.

UK Director of IFAW, Philip Mansbridge, says: “We’re very pleased to be supporting the Exposed exhibition at Erarta Galleries, to raise awareness of endangered animals in Russia and worldwide.

“The pictures are a contemporary interpretation of some of the world’s most recognisable but vulnerable animals.

“I hope visitors will enjoy the striking images, and feel strongly about protecting the real animals in the wild, and their threatened habitats.”

The organisers of Exposed say the exhibition aims to bring particular focus to the ever-narrowing gap between rural and urban landscapes and habitats, and is a contemporary reaction to conservation in a constantly developing world.

The exhibition will run at the Erarta Galleries, Berkeley Street, Mayfair, London until 23 May 2015. For more details visit www.erartagalleries.com.