Agencies set up to protect Siberian tigers

By Qu Qiuyan Source:Global Times Published: 2017/8/20 23:08:40

Fewer than 500 live in Northeast China and Russian Far East

China on Saturday launched two special agencies for the preservation of the Siberian tiger and leopard in Changchun, Northeast China's Jilin Province, marking the establishment of the first national park administration directly under the central government.

The State-owned natural resources and assets management bureaus of the Northeast Tiger and Leopard National Park were established on Saturday, the Xinhua News Agency reported Saturday. 

The establishment of the two administrative organizations marks a big step forward in the protection of the endangered Siberian tiger and leopard in Northeast China, the report said, citing Zhang Jianlong, head of the State Forestry Administration.

A plan for the establishment of the national park was approved by the central government on March 1, Xinhua reported in March.

The Northeast Tiger and Leopard National Park is designed to cover more than 1.46 million hectares, 71 percent of which is in Jilin Province and the rest in the adjacent Heilongjiang Province, according to the plan. The construction of the park is scheduled to be completed in 2020. Once completed, the national park will be 60 percent bigger the Yellowstone National Park in the US.

Ge Jianping, vice president of Beijing Normal University and a tiger expert, said there are at least 35 tigers and 70 leopards in the protected areas covering 4,000 square kilometers, which is far from enough to accommodate the wild carnivores, according to the Xinhua report.

The Siberian tiger is one of the world's most endangered species. Wild Siberian tigers predominantly live in Northeast China and the Russian Far East, with a population below 500, Xinhua reported.

He Yong, communications manager at the International Fund for Animal Welfare, told the Global Times on Sunday that the creation of the agencies shows the government is attaching great importance to wildlife conservation, adding that the park will not only protect wildlife in the area, but also safeguard the local ecological environment.

"The park will also set a good example for the protection of other endangered wild animals in China such as the Asian elephant, of which less than 200 are living in Southwest China's Yunnan Province," said He.

He suggested that apart from establishing national parks, strict bans on the hunting and trading of wild animals is also significant for wildlife conservation, though the most important thing is to change the people's mindset, from seeing wild animals as objects of human consumption to believing in harmonious coexistence of humans and animals.

A contest was also launched Saturday to design a logo for the park. Xinhua cited Chen Xiaocai, an official with the park administration, as saying that the logo should combine images of the Siberian tigers and leopards with Chinese elements.

Xinhua contributed to this story

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