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Lazovsky Nature Reserve is in the southeast of Primorye, about 250 km far from Vladivostok. Due to its peculiar relief and location, the reserve is home to 2,000 plant species of various geographical zones (e.g. taiga, tundra and even subtropical), 57 animal species and 319 birds. The reserve is famous for such rare animals as Amur tiger (also known as Siberian, Manchurian, Ussuri, North-Eastern Chinese tiger), goral and sika deer, as well as relict yew trees. The Lazovsky National Reserve and the surrounding unprotected area cover a key habitat for Amur tigers in the Russian Far East. Scientists are monitoring the survival of individual tigers who frequently leave the protection of the Reserve and wonder into the unprotected areas.
21/03 – 31/03, 2015
This nature reserve is the most important area for Amur tiger conservation in the southern Sikhote-Alin mountain range. For the last 20 years the reserve has maintained the highest tiger density in southern Primorye and one of the highest in the whole tiger habitat. Nowadays, there are about 10-12 resident or constantly visiting tigers. One to three litters are born to resident tigresses annually. High prey densities and efficient anti-poaching and firefighting activities of the reserve promote high density of endangered Amur tigers.
The Zov Tigra (“Tiger’s Call” or “Roar of the Tiger”) National Park was established in Primorsky krai, Russian Far East, in 2007 and officially registered in 2008. The 200,000-acre park protects the big cat’s habitat while simultaneously allowing for nature tourism.
We will join a team from Lazovsky Nature Reserve and spend a day in the field. And the second team will join an anti-poaching team from Zov Tigra National Park. We will use photo cameras (also known as camera traps) – cameras set off by motion detection – to count animals in the wild. Moreover, the stripe patterns captured by a camera helps scientists identify and track a specific tiger. Camera traps are placed along trails and in areas thought to be frequented by tigers and other wild animals. We can host no more than four people, because we will have a bigger chance to observe animals.
Lazovsky district of Primorye has snow for almost 6 months in a year (from October to March). Of course, the weather varies each year and it can be more or less snow from year to year.
X-plore guide. Local interpreter.
dinner with a Russian family; meals during stay with scientists, 3 breakfasts, 3 lunches and 2 dinners; lunch in Zov Tigra National Park.
Hotel of Lazovsky Nature Reserve. Wooden lodge. Hotel in Vladivostok.
Day 1 - Arrival Vladivostok Arrive in Vladivostok. Transport from the airport to the hotel. Visit to the office of the Tiger protection Foundation and meet with the Director and staff.
Day 2 - Lazovsky Nature Reserve After an early morning breakfast we will head for Lazo (4,5 hours) to visit the headquarters of Lazovsky Nature Reserve. The Lazovsky National Reserve and the surrounding unprotected area cover a key habitat for Amur tigers in the Russian Far East. Local rangers are monitoring the survival of individual tigers that frequently leave the protection of the Reserve and wonder into the unprotected areas. In the afternoon we will pay a visit to the Reserve’s Nature Museum, that features some fascinating exhibits of various stuffed animals, birds and reptiles, and where the reserve staff will inform you about the history of the protected area, scientific work in the reserve and conservation measures. Check into the hotel. Dinner: Visit to a Russian family to try some authentic Russian food and experience Russian local culture. Night at the Lazovsky Nature Reserve hotel. (B,L)
Day 3 - Tiger tracking Meet the local rangers and scientific’s dedicated to the protection of the Amur Tiger. Drive to rangers’ station (wooden lodge). In Russia's Red Book of Endangered Species, the Amur tiger is attributed to Category II as a rare, decreasing in numbers subspecies, which is placed under the threat of extinction. It is also included in the IUCN Red Book of Endangered Species, as well as in Appendix I of CITES. Hunting for tigers is prohibited since 1947. According to the latest Amur tiger population census carried out in Primorsky and Khabarovsky regions in winter 2005, there are 334-417 adult individuals and 97-112 cubs inhabiting the Russian Far East. Lunch at the lodge. In the afternoon we head into the wilderness to track wildlife, set up photo cameras and go on a hike along the seashore that is frequented by a tiger. Bath in Russian banya (sauna). Overnight at the reserve’s cordon (wooden huts usually used by the scientists and forest guards. (L,D)
Day 4 - Tiger tracking The Lazovsky Nature Reserve is one of the most beautiful places in Primorye with its mountains, taiga forest and islands. Due to its peculiar relief and location, the reserve is home to 2,000 plant species of various geographical zones (e.g. taiga, tundra and even subtropical zone), 57 animal species and 319 birds. The reserve is famous for such rare animals as Amur tiger, goral and sika deer, as well as relict yew trees. During whole day we will track and try to get a glimpse on wildlife, enjoying the hike in this mind-blazing environment. Overnight at the reserve’s cordon (wooden huts usually used by the scientists and forest guards. (B,L,D)
Day 5 - Lazo In the morning we will check the photo cameras to see if we were lucky enough to get some amazing pictures. Lunch at the lodge. After lunch we drive 1,5 hour through the taiga to travel to Lazo. Night at the Lazovsky Nature Reserve hotel. (B,L)
Day 6 - Zov Tigra National Park Depart Lazo with destination Zov Tigra National Park to meet with Director of Zov Tigra National Park Yury Berseniev. Four thousand miles east of Moscow, Zov Tigra National Park, translating to "Roar of the Tiger," became the first protected area of its kind in the Russian Far East. Although the region has several strict protected areas where no human activity is allowed and several wildlife management areas that permit natural resource extraction. During the afternoon we will walk into the forest to observe wildlife like per example gorals - small ungulates with a goat-like appearance. At the end of the afternoon we drive back to Lazo to enjoy a dinner and get the body on temperature in the Russian banya (sauna) Night at the Lazovsky Nature Reserve hotel. (L)
Day 7-8 - Anti poaching patrol During one whole day you will experience the fieldwork of the Anti-poaching team and another full day you´ll be joining the Scientific team. There are four anti-poaching teams and each consists of three to nine experienced rangers. They conduct regular anti-poaching patrols in the protected area and its buffer zone, work with MIST (fill out forms and record patrol routes with GPS, record revealed violations, citations, confiscations and fines) and extinguish forest fires. The rangers carry out patrols on foot and by car, make ambushes in the places of probable poaching and follow the poachers’ tracks. The rangers spend 20 days per month in the field. During the patrols they spend nights at ranger stations or tents. The anti-poaching teams of LNR work in cooperation with each other in order to prevent and stop violations in the reserve. They also participate in tiger census. Night at the
Day 9 - Mostly unspoiled by contamination and development, the rivers in the Primarsky Krai provide abundant fish and rare fish resources. Over 100 freshwater species live here including popular sport fish such as taimen, cherry salmon, trout, grayling and pike. Clean, fast moving rivers provide many opportunities for icefishing. Night at the Lazovsky Nature Reserve hotel. (L)
Day 10 - Lazo-Vladivostok During the morning we visit a local school, meet with schoolchildren and talk about nature conservation. After lunch we depart to Vladivostok where we will arrive in the afternoon at the hotel. Vladivostok offers a host of interesting monuments, buildings, and sights in all parts of the city. Meandering on foot is one of the best ways to experience the city’s hidden treasures. Along the waterfront, the bronze Little Mermaid statue salutes Hans Christian Anderson in Sports Harbour, where many travelers and locals come to swim and relax during the summer vacation season. Russia’s Pacific Fleet docks in the Golden Horn Bay. Rest of the day free to visit the city and buy gifts.
Day 11 - Departure After breakfast transfer to the International Airport Vladivostok. (B)