Tigers Back to Their Lost Empire

Posted on 14 October 2014   |  
A wild Amur tiger was captured by infra-red camera in Huangnihe National Reserve in northeast China recently, marking the western-most record of tiger appearance in China in 10 years.  This is also the 1st time in 14 years that a wild tiger is seen in Huangnihe.

 “WWF is thrilled to see Amur tiger is returning its lost home, which is a promising sign that their habitat is further expanded in China.” said Shi Quan Hua, senior manager of Asian Big Cats Program of WWF China.

Before 1960s, the Amur tiger was widely distributed in Northeast China including Great Khingan, Lesser Khingan Mountain, Zhangguangcai Mountain, Wanda Mountain, LaoyeLing Mountain and Changbaishan Mountain. Located in Zhangguangcai Mountain, with a distance of 280 kilometers away from Russia- China border, Huangnihe National Nature Reserve used to be an important habitat for Amur Tiger. 

However due to human activities, lack of prey and habitat fragmentation, tiger population has sharply declined in 50 years.  There’s only about 20 wild Amur tigers left in China after 1990s.  Because of better habitat and less human activities, Amur tiger tends to range at natural forest near Russia-China border. It’s rarely seen in inland areas such as Huangnihe. So, appearance of Amur tiger at Huangnihe indicates that wild the Amur tigers is expanding its habitats to Chinese inland areas.
“With joint efforts from Chinese government, local communities and NGOs, we’re pleased to see more activities of tigers in China’s inland area.” Shi Quanhua said, “WWF calls on Chinese government to carry out a national tiger survey in 2016, to obtain most updated data of tiger population and distribution.”  
“When applauding for the return of tigers, the habitat fragmentation is still a concern for its long-term survival. “ said Li Cheng, the section chief of Huangnihe Reserve, “There’re various highways distributed in the east and south of the nature reserves, which cut the habitat into small pieces. The isolated small tiger population are likely to face the fate of degradation eventually. ”

This concern is shared by Wu Jingcai, the tiger and leopard expert from Feline Research Center of State Forestry Administration. “With the rapid economic development and urbanization, more and more natural forest will be separated by high-speed ways and other infrastructures. We hope measures to be taken during construction to mitigate the negative impact to wildlife, such as building up corridors.”

Call:8610-65116272   Email: chxu@wwfchina.org


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