Speaking at a press conference held in Vladivostok, Russia, Dale Miquelle, Director of the WCS Russia Program, and coordinator for the project, said, "This tiger survey represents a milestone in cooperative, international conservation efforts, with full political support from both regional and national governmental bodies of the Russian Federation, as well as financial and technical support from the international conservation community."
Tiger surveys in Russia are conducted in winter, when a complete blanket of snow allows fieldworkers to canvass the vast region of the Sikhote-Alin Mountain Range, which holds 95 percent of the remaining Siberian tigers. Beginning in December, the survey team will search for tracks left by tigers as they traverse their home ranges looking for prey. A geographic database records the location and characteristics of each track reported, allowing specialists to estimate minimum numbers of tigers in the entire region.
The lone remaining population of Siberian tigers was under intensive poaching pressures during the early 1990s, when the collapse of the Soviet Union resulted in political and economic chaos, forcing local residents to seek any means, including poaching of endangered species like tigers, to earn a living.
The results of the last survey, along with subsequent monitoring, initially indicated that the Siberian tiger population had stabilized due