Opening of the Tiger Trail in Vladivostok, photo © Елена Старостина/ WWF России
On November 19, 2010, the International Youth Forum on Tiger Conservation was inaugurated in Vladivostok, which brought together delegates from 13 countries that today make up the habitat of this large tabby cat. Representatives of Vietnam, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar, India, Nepal, Bhutan, China, Laos, Cambodia and Indonesia held several interesting meetings and events for several days.
Young guests adopted the experience of Russians, who for half a century managed to significantly increase the number of Far Eastern tigers in Russia. They discussed, listened to lectures, went to nature reserves and presented their own projects, and at the end of such a fruitful meeting they held a teleconference with the Northern capital, where the Tiger Summit was taking place at that time.
Forum users went to nature reserves, walked along the tiger trails, photo © WWF России
In St. Petersburg, the heads of the designated states discussed a program designed to preserve the Amur tiger and double its number over the next 12 years. And in Vladivostok, young forum users had already walked their feet along the tiger paths by that time, met personally with animal protection enthusiasts, exchanged information at round tables, and after that drew up an appeal to the leaders of their states with a request to help the tiger survive.
The forum and the summit became significant events in the conservation of the striped predator not only in Russia but also around the world. Understanding the significance of these events, the forum participants perpetuated the memory of them by folding the Tiger Trail in Vladivostok. On that day, each participating country left its own cat footprint on the main promenade of the city - 13 granite slabs with the image of a tiger's paw and the name of the state in two languages were mounted in the pavement.
Granite slab with city name and paw print, photo © WWF России
Alas, what would otherwise have stood for centuries, but under the influence of the marine climate, rain and snow began to collapse. Given the historical and educational significance of the monument, WWF Russia branch was engaged in its salvation - in order to preserve this symbol of the world's unity in the struggle for the survival of the Far Eastern tiger, the Foundation decided to reconstruct it. Recently, the stone elements of the Trail have been replaced with metal, and now 13 new stainless steel plates reflect the glare of the sun from Sports Quay.
New slabs on the Tiger Trail, photo © Ольга Сасс/WWF России
The rest of the "Trail" has retained its original appearance. As before, following the steel "tracks", you can read the names of the countries where tigers now live, and at the end of this impromptu journey you can meet two bronze tiger cubs, which symbolize the Far East's concern for striped predators. Charming kittens appeared at the end of the Trail in 2013, becoming its logical conclusion.
It is here that now every autumn starts a two-day celebration of Tiger Day, which in recent years has already turned from a city holiday into a regional one. But even on weekdays, tiger cubs are not alone - having become a kind of symbol of the city, they rarely remain alone, and their residents and guests of Vladivostok will necessarily scratch their bronze ears for good luck.
Tiger cubs at the end of the Trail, photo WEB
Meanwhile, the time is coming to take stock of the work that has passed since the summit - next time in Vladivostok will again host an international thematic forum in 2022. Vladimir Putin signed a decree about it in early September.
Nine years ago, the summit in St. Petersburg brought big feline problems to the state level and prompted the top officials of the participating countries to take active steps. So, over the years, tremendous work has been done in Russia, and here the number of striped predators is now stable.
Now the number of tigers is stable in Russia, photo WEB
However, we should not relax: “There are still places that need to be taken under state protection, and other issues have not been resolved. Therefore, the Tiger Forum-2022 is an excellent occasion to “check the clock” and attract people who are not indifferent to the fate of these animals,” said Pyotr Osipov, director of the Amur branch of the WWF in Russia.