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Siberian tiger returns to inland China


04-26-2016 06:58 BJT

The Siberian tiger, also known as the Manchurian tiger, is the biggest living member of the cat family, and an endangered species. It is listed as a first-class animal under state protection. Since its traces were found in September 2014, in Huangnihe National Nature Reserve, Jilin province, more tracks have been discovered. Experts say the kings of the forest are starting to return to inland China.

Claws on a tree, remains of a wild boar. This is what researchers found in Huangnihe Nature Reserve this March.

“These are the remains of a wild boar eaten by the tiger. We came here last week and only found the boar’s head and four hoofs. The boar weighs about 85 kilograms. Look at this bite. The tiger broke his bone so easily,” said Zhang Xiaodong with Huangnihe National Nature Reserve Mgmt. Bureau.

Researchers found other evidence of Siberian tigers, including fur, tracks, feces and this. An adult male Siberian tiger walks past the camera and disappears into the forest.

“Look at the walk. So calm and tough,” Zhang said.

“This is what we captured in Sanchazi. The tiger caught a big bull. This is the dead bull. The tiger is enjoying the remains. Look, the tiger looks around now. He realizes it is safe. Look at it, the tiger is dragging the bull into the forest.”

According to the reserve’s research data, from 2014 to 2016, there have been more than two male Siberian tigers appearing in the 19-square-kilometer area. The reserve is located in the inland area of Jilin province. It used to be the habitat of this endangered species.

But Siberian tigers disappeared at the end of last century, due to human activity. Now, reforestation has taken hold, and the balance of the ecological system has been re-established.

“Based on the evidence found recently, and also the tiger’s marks on the trees, it is clear that the tiger has some relatively stable activities in this area,” said Feng Limin with Int'l Union For Conservation of Nature.

When it comes to protecting an endangered species, staff say all the hard work is worth it.

“We designed this snowboard especially to deal with the poachers. This board can help us to improve the flexibility of work. Especially when it snows heavily in winter, when normal vehicles can hardly get here. But we can use the snowmobile and snowboard, so we can go into the deep forest,” Fan Zeshan with Huangnihe Forest Police said.

According to a survey conducted by China and Russia, there are at least 38 tigers and 90 leopards living in a 4,000-square-kilometer coastal region that comprises Hunchun, Jilin province and the Russian National Wetland Park. That is nearly the world’s entire population of these big cats.

The competition for resources and the re-established forest are drawing the tigers inland, back home.

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