Changbai Mountain



Sikhote Alin

Reserves For The Amur Subspecies

Sikhote Alin

Sikhote Alin Biosphere Sanctuary was established in 1935 and is the largest of the Ussuriland reserves. It is particularly notable for being home to both the Amur tiger and the equally endangered Amur leopard. A tiger census in the 1980s estimated a minimum of 250 and a maximum of 430 tigers over the total area of Russia and 25 of these were located in this important reserve.

The census was good news in that it confirmed a gradual increase in numbers from an all-time low of 20-30 Amur tigers in the 1930s. But in other ways it's becoming increasingly obvious that conservation and protection of this subspecies is extremely limited. For instance, the late 1980s saw the Russians seriously considering a suggestion to reduce tiger numbers by allowing sport hunting.

One of the big problems with this subspecies is that Amur tigers generally reside outside of reserves like Sikhote Alin. They travel through them rather than living mostly within their confines. Only about 20% of the Amur tiger population is thought to actually remain within park boundaries.

Once the big cat departs there is no protection from poachers or commercial logging, they have a very limited prey base and no friends in the local communities. It is quite important to realise that the native people are firmly on the side of the poachers. They will shelter, aid and assist them. It's not too surprisingly really; after all, the tigers attack their stock and family members. When prey is short tigers even appear in the streets of Vladivostok, with the usual result being they have to be shot and killed.

Sikhote Alin is home for 20-25 tigers. Other important species in the area include Asiatic black bears, brown bears, wolves, leopards, musk and sika deer, elk, moose, wild boar and an unusual species of goat-antelope known as the Amur goral. This animal is covered under the Lazovskiy Reserve information; due to the predation of man it is an endangered species.

In total the sanctuary contains 63 species of mammal and 1100 species of plant, 38 of these being very rare or disappearing species (Japanese yew, Wild Amur grape, rhododendron Fauri, Amur phellodendron). There are 375 known species of bird.

The main dangers to wildlife with Sikhote Alin come from illegal hunting (poaching), forest fires, and the growing of hay fields within the sanctuary boundaries. Although it is known the tiger population is being adversely affected by these factors to what degree this is happening has yet to be established. On top of this, approximately one third of this sanctuary is unsuitable as tiger habitat. It either lacks the required prey base, or the vegetation is not appropriate.

Amur Tiger Reserves - Changbai Mountain | Huangnihe | Lazovskiy | Sikhote Alin

Origin | Project Tiger | Releasing Captive Tigers | The Tale Of Tara | Taking A CensusPost Mortems
Tiger Reserves: Amur | Bali | Bengal | Caspian | Corbetts | Javan | South Chinese | Sumatran

Wild Tigers Index | Home

Photography With Thanks To Corel (Photo 1)
Art Slack (Photo 4)
 © All Rights Reserved. Displayed here with permission, for educational, non-profit purposes.