Wild Siberian tigers and Amur leopards have gained a marked population increase in the forests of northeast China's Jilin Province, authorities said on Tuesday.
A recent survey showed that there are 11 to 13 wild Siberian tigers and 10 to 13 Amur leopards in the forests around the Changbai Mountains, said Qiao Heng, deputy director of the Jilin Provincial Forestry Department.
The last time equivalent research was conducted, in a 1998 project by US and Russian scientists, there were six to nine tigers and three to seven Amur leopards in the area.
On October 9, a group of scientists captured with the help of infrared equipment video footage and photos of one Amur adult leopard with two cubs, each about six months old, in the Wangqing National Natural Reserve in Jilin.
On November 6, the same group of scientists spotted footprints of one Siberian tiger along with three cubs in forests administered by the Hunchun Forestry Bureau.
The scientists have collected key evidence on the population structure of these rare animals, as well as the areas in which they are active, in the forests of Sino-Russian border regions.
"The Wangqing and Hunchun forests have become the country's most important breeding grounds of the two rare wild species as their habitats have greatly improved," said Qiao.
The hope of restoring the wild population of Siberian tigers and Amur leopards also lies with the region, he added.
Amur leopards and Siberian tigers, also known as Amur or Manchurian tigers, mainly live in east Russia, northeast China and northern parts of the Korean Peninsula.
Some 500 Siberian tigers and 40 Amur leopards are thought to currently live in the wild. More....