An international conference devoted to the problems of preserving Far-Eastern leopard in Russia, China and North Korea opened in Vladivostok (the centre of the Primorye Territory, the Far East) on Friday. As the officials of the Primorye nature-conservation fund Phoenix said, according to the data of the latest census carried out in winter 2000, not more than 40 leopards are now living in Russia, in the south of the Far East. Only a few of these gracious wild beasts remain in the Chinese provinces of Jilin and Heilongjiang neighbouring on the Primorye Territory. The North-Korean side does not provide exact data but, by expert estimates, the number of Far-Eastern leopards in that country does not exceed their number in China. It is already the second international meeting on preserving Far-Eastern leopard which has been entered in the International Red Book. The first was held in 1996 on the initiative of the World Wildlife Fund. A programme of preserving Far-Eastern leopard, financed by the World Wildlife Fund, was approved at it. The National Strategy of Preservation of Far-Eastern Leopard was adopted in Russia in 1999. The Borisovskoye Plateau Territorial game refuge has already been set up in the Khasan district of the Primorye Territory. It is protected by an anti-poaching team. At the current meeting in Vladivostok it is planned to give priority to the struggle against international poaching on leopard and to coordination of the activity of the nature-conservation structures of China, Russia and North Korea.
The United States and NATO are conducting provocative activities both in airspace and waters of the Black Sea, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoygu said