AT KLYAZMA WILDLIFE SANCTUARY, 120 miles east of Moscow, two rangers carefully draw an illegal fishing net from a floodplain lake into their small boat. Fish squirm in the contraption. Nearly half the net is in the boat when they notice a small, bedraggled animal with a long nose and scaly tail entangled in the strands. As they pull it near, the men recognize the creäture as a desman…….
Gray whales have a hump and a ridge of sharp bumps along their backs, instead of a dorsal fin. They are a type of baleen whale, which means they filter food from the water through special bristly structures in their mouths. Gray whales stay close to shore and feed in shallow water. Their well-known migrations take them between feeding and breeding areas, swimming as much as 12,000 miles round trip.
Critically endangered western gray whales migrate into their summer feeding grounds near Sahkalin Island, Russia in late May or early June and return to their winter feeding grounds in the South China Sea in late autumn………
The story of the European bison, or wisent, is a story of an amazing return from the brink of extinction by a species. At one time, the bison roamed the temperate European deciduous forest biome from British Isles, through most of Europe into Siberia. By the Middle Ages, in the 15th century, the bison had become all but extinct in many countries, and had died out entirely in Czechoslovakia. They survived in the wild into the 20th century only in Poland and Caucasia, where they lived protected and fed in royal hunting forests well into the 18th century. A poacher shot the last wild Polish bison in 1919, and …………………..
The leopard population for all of Iran is estimated to be between 400 and 800 individuals, but with no more than 25 cats in the north-western Caucasian region abutting to Armenia and Azerbaijan. Because it is still uncertain whether Georgia has itself a permanent nucleus of leopards, this Iranian region is considered to be the fountainhead for leopard presence there and in the rest of the Caucasus. Leopard survival in the region relies heavily on how well Iran maintains its own population of the big cat and on how continuous and well protected the ‘corridors’ between the countries are………
The White Stork (Ciconia ciconia) is a large bird in the stork family Ciconiidae. Its plumage is mainly white, with black on its wings. Adults have long red legs and long pointed red beaks, and measure on average 100–115 cm (39–45 in) from beak tip to end of tail, with a 155–215 cm (61–85 in) wingspan. The two subspecies, which differ slightly in size, breed in Europe (north to Finland), northwestern Africa, southwestern Asia (east to southern Kazakhstan) and southern Africa. The White Stork is a long-distance migrant, wintering in Africa from tropical Sub-Saharan Africa to as far south as South Africa, or on the Indian subcontinent. When migrating between Europe and Africa, it avoids crossing the Mediterranean Sea and detours via the Levant in the east or the Strait of Gibraltar in the west, because the air thermals on which it depends do not form over water.
Russia and the United States, two of the five countries where polar bears live, are now the main allies pushing for greater protection for the bears under a global treaty on endangered species, which is being reviewed this week at a conference in Bangkok.
“It really seems that both countries were willing to put aside their differences in order to work together to help save the polar bear,” said Jeffrey Flocken, North American regional director for the International Fund for Animal Welfare…………
The saiga is a very distinctive looking antelope, with a large, proboscis-like nose which hangs down over its mouth. Renowned for its high reproductive potential, the species was thought to be able to withstand even relatively high levels of hunting for its horns – less than 20 years ago, the total saiga population stood at more than one million, and appeared relatively stable. However, intensified poaching pressures during the 1990s, coupled with a breakdown of law enforcement after the collapse of the Soviet Union, caused numbers to plummet to fewer than 50,000 in just one decade – one of the most sudden and dramatic population crashes of a large mammal ever seen…..
The Siberian Crane MoU was the first MoU developed under CMS auspices. It was concluded on 1 July 1993 and revised on 1 January 1999.
Originally concentrating on the Western and Central populations of Siberian cranes, which migrate between breeding grounds in Western Siberia and wintering sites in Iran and India respectively, the scope of the Memorandum was extended in 1998 to cover the larger Eastern Asian population which winters around Poyang Lake, China, and accounts for over 95 per cent of the birds.
The serious threat of the Siberian Crane must be attributed first to hunting during their migration routes and habitat deterioration in their wintering ground. Although the shooting of Siberian Cranes is prohibited in most of the Range States, illegal shooting persists……..
The word used in Russian for snow leopard, irbis, entered the language in the 17th century through Russian fur traders, who first learnt it from Turkic hunters. The word is of Mongolian origin and is said to mean “snow cat”. The name reflects the snow leopard’s natural habitat among the wind-swept and snow-capped mountains of Asia, up to 4,500 metres above sea level. The habitat range of the animal spans across parts of 13 countries – Afghanistan, Bhutan, Burma, China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.
Human attitudes to the snow leopard have evolved over time. In the Russian Empire, the animal was ruthlessly hunted for its fur…………….
The Amur leopard (Panthera pardus orientalis) is a unique subspecies of leopard. While there are eight subspecies of leopard in the world, the Amur leopard is only found in a small corner of the Russian Far East, along the Chinese border. It is adapted to this cold climate by having very thick fur (up to 7.5 cm long in winter), which is paler with wider spaced spots than other leopards.The plight of the Amur leopard went almost unheard of until zoos began to take up its cause in the mid 1990s….
About 350 adult Siberian or Amur tigers are left in the wild, with 95% of them in the Russian Far East. Within the tiger’s range in Russia, the largest protected area is the Sikhote-Alin Biosphere Reserve, a 400,000 ha (4000 km2) reserve that has been a stronghold for the Amur tiger since its creation in 1935, and which harbors over 30 tigers today. In 1992 WCS (initially as the Hornocker Wildlife Institute) in cooperation with the Sikhote-Alin Reserve began intensive studies of tiger ecology under the Siberian Tiger Project, today the world’s longest running radio-telemetry based tiger research and conservation effort…….