Tigers have had hard times in their remaining areas of Asia, and their numbers have dropped to just 5,000 or more from 100,000 a century ago. Several iconic predator subspecies have been particularly affected by habitat loss and poaching.

From time to time, however, good news comes.

Good news has arrived from Russia, where the tracks of the Amur tigers were first seen in half a century in the Sakha Republic in the northeast of the country. Siberia.

The find, made by local forestry officials, was hailed by conservationists as a sign that wild tigers in the area may be slowly expanding their range thanks to tightened protection measures.

The footprints were found on the right bank of the Aldan River, in the south-eastern region of Sakha, also known as Yakutia, where the absence of adequate forests and wild boar prey impedes the development of tigers; therefore, the discovery was especially remarkable.

“The fact that tigers are exploiting their ancestral hunting grounds indicates that the number of tigers further north is not a cause for concern,” noted Viktor Nikiforov, who heads the conservation group Tigrus.

The Amur Tiger ( Altaic Tigris Panthera ) is the largest of the remaining six subspecies of striped predators and, according to a recent census, about 550 of them roam birch forests in parts of Siberia as well as parts of China and possibly the north. Korea.

The recovery of the Amur tigers

It’s a remarkable success story because only a tenth of their current numbers managed to survive in the 1940s, when the big cats were nearly hunted to extinction. In 1947, however, the Soviet Union banned the hunting of Amur tigers, allowing the animals to begin to increase in number.

As recently as three decades ago, it seemed to be the case for gambling and betting on wild tigers in Siberia.

“In 1994, it seemed impossible: defeat tiger poaching, cut smuggling channels to China, mobilize science, create 10 new protected areas, bring the total preserved area to 23% of the range of tigers in Russia, to preserve habitats in commercial walnut cedar areas, to develop a technique to resolve conflict situations between man and tiger…”, explains the Russian chapter of the WWF.

However, despite all these achievements, Amur tigers remain extremely rare in the wild and therefore conservation efforts will remain vital to preserving their populations.

By Daniel T. Cross. Article in English

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