Tigers are in my opinion the most beautiful creature on the planet.
While other animals take up far more of my focus as a wildlife journalist, tigers have always had a special place in my heart. In terms of sheer beauty, nothing comes close in my opinion.
Over the years, I have written numerous pieces on tiger conservation and the life history of these iconic cats.
I just got some great news from The Wildlife Conservation Society regarding the Amur (Siberian) tiger.
Scientists from Northeastern Forest University in Harbin, China, Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), UC Davis, Amur Tiger National Reserve, World Wildlife Fund, and other groups recently published their results in the journal Biological Conservation, and say that four major forested landscapes – Laoyeling, Zhang-Guangcailing, Wandashan and the Lesser Khinghan Mountains may be able to support more than 300 Amur tigers (Panthera tigris altaica) including 119 breeding females. .
WCS officials said at least 55 individuals identified in recent surveys.
To achieve the goal of 300-plus tigers in China, the authors say that large prey species, such as red deer and wild boar, need to be restored, along with extensive land-use planning, improving connectivity of habitat, reducing negative human impacts, and extensive international cooperation.
WCS officials said as many as 500 Amur tigers Amur tigers roamed throughout northeast China as late as the 1930s. However, by 2000, due to loss of habitat and prey combined with poaching, there were no more than 12~16 Amur tigers found along the border with Russia.
Since then, the Natural Forest Protection Project halted logging over much of the region and led to the relocation of forest workers out of the region. The creation of nature reserves, improved anti-poaching efforts, and compensation for human-tiger conflicts have further helped to ease the pressures facing tigers in northeast China.
Camera trap surveys from 2013 to 2018 detected a total of 55 individual tigers in the four forest landscapes in Northeast China, with an increase from 7 individuals in 2013 to 33 individuals in 2018 according to WCS reports.
During this same period, at least 20 cubs were born in northeast China. Amur tigers are distribute across 47813km2 in four major landscapes, but the vast majority are found in the Laoyeling Landscape, where the Chinese government recently created the Northeast Tiger Leopard National Park along the border with Russia. At 14,600 km2 , this park represents the largest protected area for tigers in the world.Seeing positive trajectory for tigers is exciting and something I plan on digging a little deeper into in the coming months.