China set to count its wild Siberian tigers

Updated: 2015-03-19 07:33

By Su Zhou(China Daily)

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China is going to conduct a national survey of wild tigers to provide bases for their research and management, said a senior official of the country's wildlife watchdog.

"The tiger is one of our working priorities," said Zhao Shucong, head of the State Forestry Administration.

"We are planning an overall tiger protection program with local governments from Northeastern China and experts from Beijing Normal University, Peking University, the Academy of Forestry, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, etc.

"During the process, China will enhance its cooperation with the World Wide Fund for Nature which has cooperated closely with China since the giant panda program," Zhao said.

China set to count its wild Siberian tigers

Zhao was speaking as he received a WWF award as one of its Leaders for a Living Planet on Wednesday. The award was given for his and his administration's outstanding contribution to the conservation of the natural world and sustainable development.

China has carried out a national survey on the giant panda's status and its habitat every 10 years since the 1970s. Experts have been calling to have the same census for the Siberian tiger, which mainly lives in the northeastern part of China. It is estimated there are only 30 left alive.

During the two sessions, President Xi Jinping heard a report that the number of tigers had increased to 27 in Jilin province and emphasized the ongoing need for practical conservation work to be done in the field.

Xie Zhongyan, director of the Changbai Mountain National Nature Reserve Administrative Committee, said Siberian tigers not only increased in Jilin province but also appear to be a family, showing a breeding trend.

Shi Quanhua, head of the Asia Big Cats Program of WWF China, said a full census can help to ensure that Siberian tigers have the space, food and protection they require to thrive.

(China Daily 03/19/2015 page4)