Captive-bred Siberian tigers to give birth in almost-wild fields in NE China

08:54, June 13, 2011      

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Two pregnant Siberian tigers in northeast China's Helongjiang Province will give birth in caves, resembling those in the wild except that cameras will be monitoring the expectant tiger moms.

This will mark China's first time for captive-bred Siberian tigers to deliver cubs in a near-wild environment.

Two four-meter-tall caves in a training base, which covers 100,000 square meters, will be the "delivery rooms" for the tigers whose babies are due in late June, said Liu Dan, head designer of the Heilongjiang Siberian Tiger Park, the world's largest Siberian tiger breeding base.

The mother tigers will have all the training base to themselves, said Liu.

"If successful, we would be one step closer to our goal, which is to release the tigers into the wild, " Liu said.

Siberian tigers, also known as Amur or Manchurian tigers, are among the world's 10 most endangered species and mostly live in northeast China and the Far East area of Russia.

Built in 1986, the breeding center is home to about 1,000 Siberian tigers.

Source: Xinhua
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