Real Leaders

A Forest Is Life: Preserve it Through Wise Purchases

Pavel Fomenko with students examine dead female tiger at the Animal Diseases Diagnostics center, Ussuriysk. Tigress believed to have died of starvation after her paw was damaged in a snare. The Amur branch of WWF-Russia works to protect the Amur tiger in the landscape of the Russian Far East. The landscape, which includes vast areas of valuable temperate forest, is currently home to approximately 425-440 adult tigers (c.2016). Illegal logging, poaching, and a decline in the number of ungulates that are the predator's primary prey, are all factors that today threaten the survival of the Amur tiger in the wild. Pavel Fomenko, or ‘Pasha’ to his friends, leads the species programs for WWF-Russia’s Amur branch. Pavel, once a hunter knows the forest inside out. That’s why, in 1994, WWF invited him to join the team. He is now known nationwide for his efforts to protect the endangered Amur tiger. Today, he oversees a complex system of species protection, in collaboration with state authorities: tracking poachers, developing links with hunting lodges, setting up camera traps as well as forensics and examinations on animal remains for research and criminal (poaching) investigations. In collaboration with the Animal Diseases Diagnostics center in Ussuriysk, Pavel and additional WWF staff members carry out forensic and diagnostics work on wildlife that have died either through natural causes, or to investigate possible criminal cases. By conducting forensic work, Pavel and his team are able to provide evidence that can be used to prosecute individuals involved in tiger poaching. From January to July 2016, over seventy post-mortem and forensic-biological examinations were conducted jointly with the staff of the Animal Diseases Diagnostic Centre. WWF experts provided forensic and biological expertise for six cases – three involving tigers – and two investigations into criminal cases including one killed tiger. Images taken for WWF UK commission: ‘I Protect

To a tiger, forests provide trees for shade, rivers for drinking water, and ideal hunting grounds for ambushing prey. One of the best ways to protect forests so that tigers and other wildlife thrive is to buy products with the Forest Stewardship Council™ (FSC) label.

A joint initiative between WWF and FSC aims to make consumers aware of their buying choices. The FSC label means the product is from a responsibly managed forest — one where trees are harvested legally, highly hazardous pesticides are not used, indigenous people’s rights are protected, and more.

In addition to saving wildlife, every part of a tree is used to make products, such as rubber for shoes and bark for corks. 

FSC is an international non-profit, multi-stakeholder organization established in 1993 that claims to promote responsible management of the world’s forests. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, half of the world’s forests have already been altered, degraded, destroyed or converted into other land uses. Much of the remaining forests today suffer from illegal exploitation and otherwise poor management. The organization was established as a response to these concerns over global deforestation.

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