Tigers are breeding again in China after commercial logging ban
China's ban on logging is providing a conducive breeding ground for Siberian tigers in northeastern provinces, boosting the iconic big cat's numbers, a senior World Wildlife Fund (WWF) official said.
As a significant prowling ground for Siberian tigers, Heilongjiang and Jilin provinces enforced a ban on commercial logging three years ago.
The ban has provided a new breeding ground for tigers migrating from Russia, increasing their population to several hundred in the region, Marco Lambertini, director general of WWF International told CGTN.
“Today, we have almost 30 tigers breeding in China. We have documentation through photo camera trap of cubs born in China. Tigers are re-conquering the region,” he maintained.
The number of Siberian tigers, on the verge of extinction until a few decades back, sharply increased from barely 30 adults in the wild in 1930 to more than 540, according to a 2015 census.
China-Russia collaboration restores tigers' home
Concerned over the depleting forest cover wiping out the tiger's population, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a new law enforcing harsher punishments for wildlife crimes in 2013.
A few policy changes were also made to control logging in the region. Later, a series of collaboration efforts were forged between Russia and China to ensure sufficient prey to these tigers as logging also reduced the number of herbivores in the forest range.
China and Russia agreed to create a network of protected areas to provide a safe passage for tigers roaming between the two countries.
Under the plan, Jilin Province and Russia's Primorsky Krai region officially collaborated to ensure a safe transit point for these tigers. With an average length of nearly 3.5 meters long, an adult Siberian tiger is much heavier, larger, and stronger than their Asian cousins.
Race to meet Chinese Year of Tiger deadline
Soaring demand for their skin and bones decimated the world's tiger population by nearly 97 percent in the last 90 years.
The WWF has set a target to double the world's tiger population by 2022, the Chinese Year of the Tiger. “Conservation collaboration like one with China-Russia is helping us meet this goal,” Lambertini added.
Efforts are on in the 13 tiger range countries –Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia, Thailand, and Vietnam – to reach the WWF's goal of increasing the number to 6,000, as part of the Tx2 plan. According to a survey in 2016, around 3,890 tigers roam in the wild today.
At present, Nepal, a landlocked country with limited resources, was able to ensure zero-poaching last year. With four years to 2022, the country tiger's population has almost doubled from 121 in 2009 to 235 in 2018.
(Top Image: A ban on commercial logging in NE China has resulted in an increase in Siberian tigers' population.)