Amur tiger population in Primorye decreased by 40% - ecologists
VLADIVOSTOK, October 16 (RIA Novosti) - The Amur tiger population in Russia's Primorye Territory has decreased by 40% over the past 12 years, the head the Wildlife Conservation Society's Russian branch said on Friday.
The latest Amur tiger population census carried out in the Primorye and the Khabarovsk Territories in 2005 showed there were 428-502 adult individuals inhabiting the Russian Far East. In 1995, there were 415-467 adult Amur tigers living in the area.
Monitoring of the tiger population in carried out annually in individual territories.
Dale Miquelle, who coordinates the monitoring, told journalists there were now 56 adult Amur tigers in Primorye Territory, 60% of the average population registered over the past 12 years. He added that there were 115 adult Amur tigers registered in the same territory in 2005.
Dmitry Pikunov, from the Russian Academy of Sciences' Pacific Geographical Institute, said the Amur tiger is becoming instinct because of poaching and man-made environmental changes.
He said construction of the East Siberia-Pacific Ocean oil pipeline and the Sakhalin-Khabarovsk-Vladivostok gas pipeline in the Primorye Territory affects some 30 Amur tiger's habitat areas just in the territory of the Sikhote-Alin mountain range.
Miquelle said a federal tiger conservation program has to be adopted and Russia's legislature concerning poaching of endangered animal species has to be toughened.
He added that Russia and China have to develop joint measures aimed at tiger conservation.
In June, the two countries agreed to start preparations to create a cross-border nature reserve to protect endangered Amur tigers and Far East leopards.
Amur tigers, also known as Siberian tigers, are the largest subspecies of tigers, growing to over 3 meters in length and weighing up to 300 kilograms. They are on the World Conservation Union's critically endangered status list. Since 2006, poachers are known to have killed around 10 Amur tigers in Russia's Far East.