A working meeting on scientific research and environmental monitoring at Land of the Leopard opened in Vladivostok under the auspices of the Far Eastern Leopards autonomous non-profit organisation. Its participants will spend three days working on the first draft programme to develop this protected area in 2019-2024.
At the invitation of Far Eastern Leopards, environmental experts from various regions of Russia came to Vladivostok, such as Merited Ecologist of Russia Vsevolod Stepanitsky, advisor to the general director of Far Eastern Leopards; Natalya Troitskaya, director of the Partnership for Nature Reserves; Umar Semyonov, head of the Persian Leopard Breeding and Rehabilitation Centre; Merited Ecologist Yury Darman; Dale Miquelle, director of WCS Russia; Alexander Ruchin, DSc in Biology and director of Nature of Mordovia; Svetlana Sutyrina, PhD in Biology and acting director of the Sikhote-Alin Biosphere Reserve; and Mikhail Yablokov, PhD in Biology.
Yelena Gangalo, general director of Far Eastern Leopards, opened the meeting. She noted that this was an unusual event, held for the first time as part of Land of the Leopard’s work to set new tasks for its employees.
“The population of the Far Eastern leopard in the protected area is reaching its maximum, and the task of developing its research department is becoming more important. Land of the Leopard has an impressive database gathered while monitoring the biota. Moving forward, we must be systematic in working with the resources we have by introducing new methods and technologies. This event is dedicated to analysing Land of the Leopard’s research activities and ways to proceed,” Yelena Gangalo noted.
During the meeting, Land of the Leopard employees and experts will be divided into three groups. At the end of the event, each group will present their vision of the goals, tasks and ways to address them for the research department. Key proposals that will later be used to develop corresponding plans and programmes for the near future will be chosen following joint discussions.
“This meeting is a good opportunity to review the road we’ve taken so far in research, to exchange opinions and to discuss what to do next. Considering the specifics of our territory, I believe that we must focus on studying and analysing the current status of the big cats’ populations. Another important point is that the research should be long-term and systematic, with a detailed method, reports and people responsible for each aspect,” added Viktor Bardyuk, director of Land of the Leopard.
It is expected that the meeting will yield a draft medium-term research programme for Land of the Leopard’s research activities until 2024. After that, the draft document will be submitted to the protected area’s scientific and technical council, which will assemble on site this February.