Saving Russia's cedar forests 'key to Amur tiger conservation'
The government should reintroduce a law banning the cutting down of cedar forests in Russia's Far East to save the rare Amur tiger, World Wildlife Fund Russia head Igor Chestin said on Tuesday.
The law was revoked after the Russian Forest Code came into effect on January 1, 2007.
"No cedar - no tiger. The habitat of this animal coincides with those areas where we find the cedar ," Chestin said during a RIA Novosti press-conference.
Amur tigers, also known as Siberian tigers, are classed as endangered by the World Conservation Union, with only about 500 tigers left in Russia's wild. Since 2006, poachers have killed at least 10 of the rare animals in Russia's Far East.
However, Russia is the only country to have seen tiger numbers rise since the middle of the 20th century and remain stable over the past ten years.
Preserving cedar forests is of paramount concern to WWF Russia, as the cedar is at the base of the food pyramid topped by the Amur tiger.
Last week, MPs in Russia's Far East Primorye Territory voted to include the cedar in the Red Book of endangered plants and animals. The decision has yet to be approved by the governor.
MOSCOW, February 2 (RIA Novosti)