In January 2002 the Phoenix Fund started a campaign to save endangered black vultures wintering in Khasan district. It is a second year project, first started in winter 2000-2001 with financial support from Tigris Foundation (Holland) and IFAW Russia.
This project includes providing additional food for the vultures, fostering a positive attitude within the local populations towards black vulture conservation and increase the communities’ awareness and participation in conservation-related activities.
During a patrol on January 1-7, 2002 Khasan team of Inspection Tiger found gatherings of vultures and sea-eagles on Gamov peninsula, Zarubino village, deer farms and Slavyanka dump. The vultures are weak because of the lack of murrain at the deer farms and can perish soon in conditions of cold spell and plenty of snow. Therefore, Phoenix has taken steps to save vultures with support from Tigris Foundation, the partner from Holland. Inspection Tiger officers has organized “hot line” to receive information about dead and weak vultures and has prepared 5 feeding grounds for vultures and a rehabilitation center in Khasan district. Volunteers and public organizations will also take an active part in this operation.
This winter, again a severe one for Primorye, the rangers have been moving in the deepest snow on newly purchased snow mobiles to reach remote areas and supply food to the weakened vultures with the aid of university volunteers. The food is deer meat remains from neighbouring deer farms that Phoenix buys in bulk.
According to the students who monitored the population, this year only ten birds are estimated to have died. The participants of the Vulture campaign are now increasingly optimistic that the population will survive and possibly increase due to the present conservation work. Phoenix remains grateful for the financial and in-kind support provided by many Russian and international organizations that are helping save this rare and endangered species.