The project was focused not only on Amur tiger and Amur leopard conservation, but it has also helped protect other wildlife, such as the Asiatic black bears, brown bears and ungulate species which inhabit the ‘Land of the Leopard’ National Park (LLNP) in Far East Russia. By conducting regular anti-poaching patrols, rangers ensured security and protection of natural habitat that is home to as many as 1,300 plants, including 68 species listed in the Red Data Books of Russia, 329 vertebrates, 32 fish species, 12 reptiles, 65 mammals and 220 bird species. The LLNP serves as an ecological corridor connecting wildlife from Southwest Primorye to neighbouring protected areas in China.
The aim of the project was to conserve biodiversity through intensive anti-poaching activities. The objectives of the project were:
To improve anti-poaching efforts in ‘Land of the Leopard National Park’ with the use of drones;
To protect Amur leopards, tigers and other wildlife from poachers and forest fires.
In the Russian Far East, two of the world’s most endangered big cats occur: the Amur leopard (Panthera pardus orientalis) and the Amur or Siberian Tiger (Panthera tigris altaica). The estimated wild population (2021) of these leopards is around 100 individuals and the tiger population hangs around 500-550 animals. The necessity to protect these two species is eminently clear and will also benefit the brown bear and Asiatic black bear populations, which occur in the same habitat. The Phoenix Foundation has organized many different activities, ranging from educational activities for kids, asking media attention, executing research projects and setting up anti-poaching teams. Bears in Mind supports the anti-poaching teams.
Red Wolf Brigade Since January 2002 the Red Wolf anti-poaching team has been patrolling the perimeter and the core of the wildlife refuge. Their activities range from confiscating poached wildlife, illegal rifles and fining people for violation of hunting regulations. The rangers are also involved in making fire breaks and providing food and saltlicks during harsh winters for the prey animals of the leopards and tigers. They also visit schools and give lectures to people who visit the forests.
Borisovkoye Plateau Borisovkoye Plateau wildlife refuge has always been considered as one of the best remaining tracts of the leopard habitat. During the tiger census in January 2000 the tracks of seven leopards, two or three tigers, and 60-70 fresh ungulate tracks (per 10 km² of route) were found on the monitoring site including the Borisovkoye Plateau wildlife refuge and Nezhinskoye hunting society. The 2003-2005 surveys showed the same leopard and tiger density. It proves the important role that protection of territories and anti-poaching activities play in leopard and tiger conservation.
The important anti-poaching work done by Phoenix Fund was continued & supported from 2013 onwards by Bears in Mind under the project Conservation Drones in Russia.