Borders join forces to save wild tigers

08:27, August 30, 2010      

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Northeast China's Jilin province and neighboring Russia's Primorsky Krai region on Sunday agreed to establish the first cross-boundary Siberian tiger protection zone to improve conservation of the endangered species.

The two sides formally signed the agreement during the second annual Siberian Tiger Cultural Festival, which opened on Sunday in Jilin's Hunchun city.

As part of the agreement, Jilin and Primorsky will initially step up the amount of information they share and adopt identical monitoring systems for Siberian tigers and their prey.

They will also conduct joint ecological surveys and launch an anti-poaching campaign along the China-Russia border.

All these measures will help wildlife authorities build a cross-boundary protection zone in Jilin and Primorsky, according to the agreement.

"A new transnational protection area will provide a wider and healthier habitat for Siberian tigers and other endangered species, such as the Far East leopard, musk deer and goral," said Yu Changchun, director of the conservation division of the Jilin provincial forestry department.

Siberian tigers, also known as Amur or Manchurian tigers, are one of the world's 10 most endangered species. They predominantly live in Northeast China and the far eastern parts of Russia.

There are an estimated 500 Siberian tigers living in the wild, of which 20 or so live in Northeast China's Jilin and Heilongjiang provinces.

Poaching, deforestation, the general destruction of their natural habitat, a lack of prey and illegal trade are among the biggest threats to the species, experts said.

"If the Siberian tiger - the species at the top of the local ecosystem - could be better protected, other species in the forest will benefit," said Zhu Chunquan, conservation director of the China office of the World Wide Fund for Nature.

Source: China Daily


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