Russia starts Siberian tiger park

Following more than a decade of study and advocacy by World Wildlife Fund, the Russian Government this week created the 200,000 acre Zov Tigra National Park, the first national park for the Siberian tiger. Four thousand miles east of Moscow, Zov Tigra National Park, translating to “Roar of the Tiger,” became the first protected area of its kind in the Russian Far East.

Although the region has several strict protected areas where no human activity is allowed and several wildlife management areas that permit natural resource extraction, this National Park serves the dual role of protecting habitat and allowing for nature tourism.

“We’ve dreamed of this moment for a long time now—Zov Tigra is a huge victory and is enormously important for the survival of the world’s largest cat,” said Dr. Darron Collins, managing director of WWF’s Amur-Heilong Program in the United States.

“Part of the reason why this protected area took so long to evolve is that we had to demonstrate an economically viable future for protecting a pretty big chunk of land and, for Zov Tigra, that future has got to include sustainable, ecologically-based tourism,” said Collins.

While some visitors may be drawn to Zov Tigra hoping to see the elusive wild tiger, most will not catch a glimpse of this top predator. Visitors will see one of Russia’s most impressive landscapes, including the Milogradovka River which spills through dramatic blue and pink hewn canyons and Mount Oblachanaya which rises 6000+ feet out of the Sea of Japan.

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In addition to providing the evidence needed to justify the park’s establishment, WWF had to protect the 200,000-acre territory to ensure that the park’s incredible beauty and resources were not destroyed while the paperwork cleared.

“We hope Zov Tigra is the first of several new protected areas to be created in the Russian Far East,” said Dr. Yuri Darman of WWF’s Russian Far East office in Vladivostok. “Increased protection of habitat will help cement a future for these cats and will buffer against the continuous threat of poaching for their bones and skin.”

Known in the United States as World Wildlife Fund and recognized worldwide by its panda logo, WWF leads international efforts to protect endangered species and their habitats and to conserve the diversity of life on Earth. Now in its fifth decade, WWF, the global conservation organization, works in more than 100 countries around the world.
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