Monday, August 03, 2009

Russia can hand over several Amur tigers to South Korea

Russia can hand over several Amur tigers to South Korea

08.02.2009, 00.56

LISTVYANKA (Irkutsk region), August 2 (Itar-Tass) -- Russia can hand over several Amur tigers to South Korea, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said at a meeting devoted to environment protection and ecological security here on Sunday.

“As far as a request of South Korean colleagues is concerned we can and it is our duty to hand over several species of Amur tiger,” the premier said. Putin noted that there are no species of Amur tiger left in South Korea and China, while there are 450 species of this tiger in Russia.

Meanwhile, Putin noted that Turkmen colleagues are ready to hand over to Russia 4-5 species of West Asian leopard. This animal is placed on the national emblems of many Caucasus republics. However, these leopards were fully exterminated in the 50s of the previous century. “If we revive just a few species by the Olympics (in Sochi), it would be a good sign,” Putin said.

He also called for tougher measures against poachers, who kill Far Eastern leopard, which has only 30 species in Russia. “It is just an unreasonable killing quite often, so called for the sake of art,” the Russian prime minister said with indignation.

Russia is the only country in the habitat of Amur tiger, where its population has increased since the middle of the previous century and makes 450-500 species now. In 2007-2008 the government opened three national parks in the habitat of Amur tiger. As a result more than 20 percent of the tiger’s habitat is put under special protection.

Similar measures were taken regarding Far Eastern leopard, the population of which does not exceed 52 species in the whole world (30 species live in Russia’s Primorsky territory). To preserve its population the government opened a state-owned nature reserve for these leopards in 2008.

Russia has another subspecies – West Asian leopard, which lives in hard-to-reach places in the Eastern Caucasus. A program for restoring the population of the West Asian leopard is included in the program of ecological measures as part of the preparations to the 22nd Winter Olympic Games in Sochi in 2014.

http://www.itar-tass.com/eng/level2.html?NewsID=14198860&PageNum=0

http://www.bigcatrescue.org

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