Save The Amur Leopard From Extinction

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Help strengthen Russia's wildlife laws and save the Amur leopard


Sign this petition and urge the Russian government to enforce stronger penalties for poaching and smuggling, and save the Amur Leopard from extinction.

The Amur leopard is an extremely beautiful, and extremely rare animal. At one time, only 20 in the world were in existence.

Living in the forests of Russia and China, there are maybe a dozen more Amur leopards alive today [1], thanks to the conservations efforts of some determined nonprofit organizations, but their future is being threatened by poachers and the logging industry.

The Amur Leopard and Tiger Alliance (ALTA) has been fighting to protect Amur leopards and tigers from illegal hunting and habitat destruction. The group is made up of 15 international and Russian NGOs, with field agents sent by the Zoological Society of London, Wildlife Conservation Society, Phoenix Fund and Wildlife Vets International [2].

Russia has protections in place, too. A 2012 law increased financial penalties for those caught poaching endangered species and conducting trans-border trade, with up to 7 years in prison and a 2 million ruble fine waiting for those convicted [3].

But those laws have not proven the deterrent to poaching that they were meant to be. Illegal hunting continues to threaten the Amur leopards, and their carcasses or skins continue to be found in black market operations, either belonging to relatively rich people from nearby cities, or poor villagers trying to make a living [4].

While criminal punishment misses the mark, ALTA has found success with alternative methodologies, educating communities on anti-poaching issues, and putting livestock compensation programs in place for farmers who lose animals to the critically threatened cats [5].

A mobile anti-poaching team established in the Amur leopard’s habitat in January 1998 [5]. One of the most successful anti-poaching groups to date, it has assisted in making over 1,000 citations for illegal activity, and initiated over forty criminal proceedings [5]. In their investigations, the team has confiscated more then 400 firearms and several leopard skins and body parts [5].

The Russian Government needs to step up its conservation efforts and approach Amur leopard protections with the same initiative if the animals are to be saved from extinction.

Sign the petition and demand protection for the Amur leopard today!

MORE ON THIS ISSUE

[1] World Wildlife Fund For Nature (2017), "Amur leopard." Retrieved January 22, 2018, from http://wwf.panda.org/what_we_do/endangered_species/amur_leopard2/

[2] Alta Leopard & Tiger Alliance, "About Us." Retrieved January 22, 2018, from http://www.altaconservation.org/about-us/

[3] Kathleen Braden (2015, April 8), "Illegal recreational hunting in Russia: the role of social norms and elite violators." Retrieved January 22, 2018, from http://russian.dartmouth.edu/sites/russian.dartmouth.edu/files/illegal_recreational_hunting_in_russia_the_role_of_social_norms_and_elite_violators.pdf

[4] Alta Leopard & Tiger Alliance, "The problems with poaching." Retrieved January 22, 2018, from http://www.altaconservation.org/threats/poaching/

[5] Alta Leopard & Tiger Alliance, "Anti-poaching and compensation of livestock kills." Retrieved January 22, 2018, from http://www.altaconservation.org/projects/conservationactivities/anti-poaching-and-compensation-of-livestock-kills/

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The Petition:

Dear Russian Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment,

The Amur leopard is facing extinction, its numbers are dwindling in the dozens, and the protective measures your country has put in place are not doing enough to dissuade poachers from killing them all.

There are maybe a few dozen Amur leopards alive today. That's largely thanks to the conservations efforts of some determined nonprofit organizations, but the leopard's future is being threatened by poachers and the logging industry.

Poor villagers, left with little after the fall of the USSR, and the rich, who want to show off their wealth, are fueling a black market trade for Amur leopard skins. And the threat of a 2 million ruble fine and 7 years in prison is not enough to stop their illegal hunting. Amur leopard carcasses or skins continue to be found in black market operations.

The Amur Leopard and Tiger Alliance (ALTA) has been fighting to protect Amur leopards and tigers from illegal hunting and habitat destruction. The group is made up of 15 international and Russian NGOs, and has found success in educating communities on anti-poaching issues, and putting livestock compensation programs in place for farmers who lose animals to the critically threatened cats.

ALTA established a mobile anti-poaching team in the Amur leopard’s habitat in January 1998. One of the most successful anti-poaching groups to date, it has assisted in making over 1,000 citations for illegal activity, and initiated over forty criminal proceedings. In their investigations, the team has confiscated more then 400 firearms and several leopard skins and body parts.

The Russian government would do well to follow this initiative, and add similar measures to its own legislation. The future of the Amur leopard depends on it.

Sincerely,

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Signatures: