Sloat Named National Geographic Explorer
Science Director of Wild Salmon Center Dr. Matthew Sloat and the Wild Salmon Center team have earned the support of the National Geographic Society for our giant taimen research and conservation work in the deep wilds of the Russian Far East. The grant from the National Geographic Society will continue WSC’s groundbreaking work researching Siberian and Sakhalin taimen, and it makes Dr. Sloat an official “National Geographic Explorer.” Since 1888, the National Geographic Society has given grants to: “further understanding of our planet and empower the global community to generate solutions for a healthier and more sustainable future,” supporting more than 13,000 grant projects along the way, including luminaries like Jane Goodall and Jacques Cousteau.
The giant taimen and the wild rivers they call home are still largely full of mystery. The expansive, pristine forests of the Khabarovsk region where many of these taimen are concentrated are an ecological crossroads where one can find temperate Asiatic species such as Siberian tigers, Himalayan bears, and giant Blakiston’s fish owls, along with northern Arctic species like moose and the Steller’s sea eagle. Unique runs of cherry, chum and pink salmon thrive alongside taimen.
This new grant will support Sloat’s work with conservation partners and local experts in Khabarovsk to better understand the Taimen, as an apex predator and indicator species, and their habitat in the Koppi and Maya River watersheds. Sloat will also be able to apply innovative, robust science tools including a photo ID program to demonstrate that the current protected areas we’ve helped put in place are really working. Taimen, as the world’s largest salmonids, area a flagship species that can promote the value of protected areas and rally public support for increased habitat protections.
We’re excited to have the support of the National Geographic Society, and looking forward to raising the profile of taimen conservation in Russia and beyond.