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Planned Siberian tiger reserve expansion would displace 50% of residents

Source:Xinhua Published: 2014-3-21 0:43:01

China is considering a plan to expand a major Siberian tiger reserve in the northeast and move out half of the local residents in order to better protect the rare species, an official said here Thursday.

The Hunchun National Siberian Tiger Nature Reserve in Jilin Province will be increased by 524 hectares in area if the proposed plan is adopted by the State Council, China's cabinet, said Lang Jianmin, director of the reserve's scientific research and publicity center.

The State Forestry Administration has already approved the plan, which will see half of the 6,000 residents currently living in the reserve relocated, according to Lang. The remaining residents in the reserve will gradually move out as the local urbanization program proceeds, he added.

The move aims to reduce human disturbance to wild Siberian tigers such as deforestation caused by locals, and their frog breeding businesses in the reserve affect the tigers' living environment.  

The reserve, currently 100,000 hectares, is 70 percent State-owned, with the remainder owned by farmers.

Currently, villagers in the Hunchun reserve can cut trees on land owned by them upon government approval, or breed frogs, a major part of their income. Compensation for displaced residents is under discussion.
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