Saturday, April 21, 2007

Almost extinct tiger makes a comeback

After a century in which its numbers have dwindled to the point of extinction, the Amur tiger, the largest cat in the world, has made an improbable recovery. According to WWF, the tiger's population is at its highest level for 100 years.

The latest census of the tiger, which hides in an isolated region near the Chinese border, shows there are between 480 and 520 animals surviving in the wild.

In the 1940s the sub-species had nearly died out, with around 40 tigers left. Most experts put its chances of survival as little higher than the dodo's.

Yuri Darman, the head of WWF Russia's far east office, said the tiger's comeback was good news. But he warned that the species remained critically endangered and was at imminent risk if China succeeded in lifting the global ban on tiger products at the Global Tiger Forum in Kathmandu.

"The success of the tiger population is mostly the result of the tiger ban in China and the support of the Chinese government," said Mr Darman.

The animals live in the Sihote-Alinn mountains, a remote and frozen 750-mile strip of territory in Russia's Primorski and Khabarovski provinces. The forested region is home to wild boar and red and sika deer, the tiger's food.

But the tigers are prey for impoverished locals and poachers who sell their hides on the black market across the porous border with north-eastern China.


Debbie said...

It really is such a beautiful animal.

dom said...

I want one as a rug