Sunday, April 09, 2006

400 Manchurian Tigers left in the wild

400 Manchurian Tigers left in the wild

HARBIN, April 9 (Xinhua) -- It's a good day when Chinese scientists find huge, daisy-shaped paw prints in the snow giving them proof the world's largest cat, the Manchurian tiger, continues to prowl the forests of Heilongjiang Province in Northeast China.


    The massive Manchurian tiger, which weighs up to 200 kilograms and is three meters from nose to tail, is listed by the World Wildlife Fund as one of the ten most endangered species in the world.

    Here in this sparsely populated province, which shares a border with Russia, wildlife scientists believe there are now 14 of the carnivores roaming the dense forests.

    For the past two years scientists have been monitoring the population of wild Manchurian tigers and believe their number has nearly doubled since the implementation of comprehensive conservation measures

    Paw prints, excrement, resting places and the remains of prey all serve as evidence in a recent census of the orange and black and white striped beasts, which was conducted by the Academy of Wildlife of Heilongjiang Province.

    The tigers' reserved territory covers about 1,200 square kilometers mainly in southeastern mountainous region of Heilongjiang Province which is 70 percent forest covered.

    A survey by Chinese, American and Russian experts, organized by the United Nations Development Program, found in 1999 that only five to seven wild Manchurian tigers were known to exist in the province which is their original home.

    Currently, there about 400 Manchruian tigers in the world, of which three quarters are living in Russia.

    The tiger population in China is fewer than 20 while the species is totally extinct in the Korean Peninsula.

    Forest protection zones and nature reserves have been set up in mountainous northeast China where no tourists nor industry is allowed. All construction projects in the experimental zones require environmental appraisal and legal approval.

    "The newly launched nature reserve will lay a solid foundation for future cross-border protection of the species." said Sun Haiyi,deputy-director of the provincial Academy of Wildlife.

    Since a ban on hunting in the mountain nature reserves went into effect, the number of wild animals including wild deer and boar has increased rapidly, providing plenty of prey for the tigers, Sun told Xinhua. Enditem


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Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue

an Educational Sanctuary home

to more than 100 big cats

12802 Easy Street Tampa, FL  33625

813.493.4564 fax 885.4457

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