This non-profit venture began in 1995 after reading an article in Outside Magazine, "No More Tigers". Coordinated efforts from New River Community College, Wytheville Community College, and Spiller Elementary School generated community awareness of the plight of the Siberian tiger as well as petitions to President Yeltsin for the establishment of an Ecotourism project in the Primorye(Far East Russia). The Ecotourism project gives participants the opportunity to experience the conservation projects at Lazzo Nature Reserve in Primorye. These projects include "sniffer dogs" for tracking and census data of tigers. Visitors will also spend time in Gayvoron, with Russia's expert research scientist of Siberian tiger, Dr. Yudin, and his wildlife sanctuary for tigers. You will travel north and live with the Udege indigenous peoples, and experience their culture and its connection with the Siberian Tiger. The opportunity to make contact with Operation Amba, anti-poaching teams, will also be realized on a limited basis.
The project leaders are Sergi Shaitarov and Alisa Mercer. Sergi Shaitrov is a biologist, professional Eco-guide and fluent in English. Sergi is a member of Tiger Protection Society of Lazovsky Nature Reserve and has contact with Operation AMBA and Commander Shetinin, director of anti-poaching efforts in Primorye. Alisa Mercer works at New River Community College in Instructional Support Services. Alisa is a wildlife rehabilitator, has traveled in Russia since 1992, and has worked with the BBC Natural History Unit, Bristol, England. Alisa is a member of the Wythe County Rescue Squad and a Volunteer with the Virginia State Police Volunteer Program at the Virginia State Police 4th Division Headquarters, Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Wytheville, Va.
This project has been recognized as a faculty/staff professional development opportunity by the Virginia Community College System.
Male Siberian Tiger, "Kuja", in Gayvoron, Russia
Updated: October 2010