Good News for Big Cats

Panthera tigris altaica L., Amur tiger in the rehabilitation center of the wild animals "Utyos" near Khabarovsk (located at the confluence of the Amur and Ussuri rivers).Khabarovsk Krai Territory. Far East. Russian Federation

Up in China’s frozen north, the 江Heilongjiang River borders Siberia. Otherwise known as the Amur River, this area used to be renowned as a habitat for the Siberian Tiger, or Amur Tiger, known in China as 东北虎 dongbei hu.

My ex-inlaws say as children, they used to see the big cats often when they’d venture out of town into the forest. They’ve been on the decline for a long time, officially classified as an endangered species.

Russia and China have been collaborating to monitor these big cats.

Logging, hunting and trapping have been banned for a decade in their habitat in China’s north east. Whilst illegal practices still occur to feed the trade in tiger parts ( some folks still believe tiger parts cure all kinds of illnesses), hunting any kind of animal has been illegal in China since the 1950s. (Excepting for rats – if you count those rodents as animals – !)

The Siberian tiger is the largest predatory cat on earth, and it has been resurrected from near extinction by Chinese and Russian habitat-protection plans over the last decade. Yale school of Environment praised the Chinese conservation efforts.

A Siberian tiger, courtesy of World Wildlife Fund

The forests around the Heilongjiang  River contain unique tree species of Mongolian Oak and Korean pine which form the perfect habitat for the dongbeihu.

It’s not just tigers who are making a comeback. Another big cat, the Siberian Leopard, also seems to be on the increase. Chinese and Russian scientists made a joint announcment last week, stating their two-year long research project tracking the numbers of Siberian leopards in this border area has resulted in determing the numbers have double from a very low 40, to potentially around 80.

Do you have a couple of minutes  to spare? Watch researchers as they capture video footage of a siberian tiger


Only got ten seconds? Watch just the tigers here instead. ( click on the link contained in the word “here”)