Swans at Astrakhan Nature Reserve, Volga River Delta, Russia. Credit: USFWS

Credit: USFWS

Russia’s vast terrain stretches from the frozen tundra of the far north, to the peaks of the Caucasus Mountains to the southern prairies. Its temperate forests – two-thirds of all temperate forests left on earth - offer sanctuary to endangered species and play an increasingly vital role in storing emissions of carbon dioxide. Amur tigers, snow leopards, saiga antelope, Siberian cranes and giant taimen fish are just some of the species that call Russia home.

Many of these unique species, however, are threatened by habitat loss, poaching and climate change. Since their natural ranges often span both the U.S. and Russia– across the Artic land bridge - protecting them requires close cooperation among governments, conservation organizations, and local communities

For more than 35 years, USFWS - Russia program has worked with Russian conservationists, sharing information and jointly conducting scientific studies. The program has also supported Russia’s nature reserves (“zapovedniks”) and national parks through a competitive grants program. Grants provide infrastructure support and build the capacity of park management in the remote habitats of unique and globally important species such as the saiga antelope and the Amur tiger. For more information on Russian parks and reserves, visit the Russian Academy of Sciences protected area database.

In 2011 USFWS - Russia funded initiatives included:

  • Providing grants to support Russia's nature reserves. These grants allow often underfunded reserve staffs to purchase the equipment needed to effectively protect these vast areas. These supplies range from uniforms and cold weather clothing to new facilities, communications equipment, and land and water patrol vehicles.
  • Carrying out a bilateral agreement to protect and manage polar bears that range from Russia’s northeast Chukotka region to Alaska. Satellites are being used to monitor the polar bears throughout their Arctic range.
  • Facilitating the cooperation, training and exchange of Russian and American field scientists, researchers and conservationists.