Siberian Tigers to be Protected

     Two former enemies, Russia and China, are now working together to protect the endangered Siberian tiger.  Only about 500 of these magnificent animals remain in the wild, and most can be found in a region that includes land on both sides of the Russia-China border. 

     This is  great news.  The agreement, facilitated by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), establishes the world’s first transboundary, protected area for the endangered Siberian tiger.  And these animals desperately need protection.  They hover at the edge of extinction, thanks to expanded logging in the forest where they live, fragmentation of their habitat, a decline in populations of their prey, and poaching for sought-after tiger body parts.

      More than 300 of the tigers in the newly protected area live on the Russian side of the border.  Since the 1930s, when the  Siberian tiger in Russia had reached a dangerous low of just 20-30 animals, intensive conservation efforts built the population to more than 300.  But recently, their numbers in Russia have again begun to decline.  The Siberian tigers on China’s side of the newly protected area number only 18-22. 

     “While tigers–the species at the top of the ecosystem–are better conserved through the agreement, other species, the forest habitat, and all the biodiversity resources will also benefit from this protected area,” says Dr. Zhu Chunquan, WWF-China’s conservation director.  Such endangered animals as the Far East Leopard, the musk deer, and the goral (a goat-like animal) will gain protection as well.  And so will the tigers’ prey–deer, boar, elk, and other large animals.  A Siberian tiger needs to consume about 20 pounds of meat per day. 

     As part of the agreement, the Russian side (Primorsky Province) and the Chinese side (Jilin Province) will share information and will adopt uniform monitoring systems for the tigers and their prey.  The two sides will conduct joint ecological surveys and will work together to develop an anti-poaching campaign along the Russia-China border.

     Interestingly, 2010 is China’s Year of the Tiger.  One goal of the agreement is to double China’s Siberian tiger population by 2022, the next Year of the Tiger.  

     Other countries with tiger populations are also taking action during this Year of the Tiger.  India and Nepal recently signed an agreement to work together to conserve biodiversity, including tigers, and to strengthen ecological security in the transnational region.  And a groundbreaking conservation declaration from the 13 nations in which all the world’s wild tigers live is due to be signed by the end of this year.  The Declaration is to create a global tiger recovery program and to promote transboundary cooperation among the 13 nations in which tigers range.

     To all this good news, I say Bravo!  And thanks to the World Wildlife Fund and to the Russian and Chinese governments for the hard work required to bring about such an agreement and to implement it.–April Moore




2 Responses to “Siberian Tigers to be Protected”

  1. Priscilla Says:

    This is heartening news. Thanks for sharing!

  2. MIKAYLA Says:

    we adore this blog post. i just alerted my friend dan about this because he loves this kind of information as well!

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