At the end of April WCS Russia Projects and Grants Manager Cheryl Hojnowski and Model Hunting Leases Consultant Roman Kozhichev headed out for a trip to the Chin San Hunting Lease, which WCS selected as a model hunting lease in late 2008. With support from the Liz Claiborne and Art Ortenberg Foundation (LCAOF), WCS is providing financial and technical support to help Chin San achieve a new level of wildlife management. We hope that our work with Chin San will demonstrate that with modest investment, community-based hunting leases can increase ungulate numbers, protect rare species (particularly Amur tigers), and develop economic activities that will provide long-term income.
We are traveling to Chin San once every 1-2 months, in order to check up on how well they are fulfilling their annual work plan (developed jointly by Chin San and WCS), and to provide advice on a number of topics. For example, earlier this year we have traveled to Chin San to assist them in conducting more effective anti-poaching patrols (and documenting results in a raid journal), and in improving their wildlife survey techniques. For this trip at the end of April, our objectives were to evaluate progress on early spring activities (such as posting new signs around the territory, creating salt and mineral licks, and preparing for more intensive poaching in May and June). We also wanted to work with the Chin San lease manager on improving his draft 5-year management plan for Chin San.