Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Russia, China launch joint project to protect tigers, leopards


MOSCOW, October 30 (RIA Novosti) - Russia and China have started a joint program on the conservation of Amur tigers and Amur leopards in the Far East, the World Wildlife Fund announced on Friday.

The program, set up with the assistance of the WWF, got going in Russia's Primorye Territory and China's Jilin Province following the signing of an agreement between the countries on Thursday.

The sides acknowledged the importance of joint programs in restoring wild animal populations in cross-border regions, and the agreement stipulates ways to protect the Amur tiger and Amur leopard populations and preserve their habitats.

"We put in a lot of effort to support to a program that we have worked on for almost 10 years together with WWF China, and scientific and public environmental organizations," WWF Amur department director Yury Darman said.

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, and there are only about 500 of them left in the wild. Since 2006, poachers are known to have killed around 10 in Russia's Far East.

Amur leopards, which are native to the Russian Far East and also the mountainous areas of the taiga, are at extremely high risk of extinction, with only around 40 animals remaining in the world.


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