By Gleb Bryanski
Russia has offered to work with China to create a joint nature reserve to help prevent the extinction of the Amur leopard, a Russian official said on Saturday.
"We have sent our proposals to China," said Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov, in charge of a state-sponsored program to save the Amur leopard.
Ivanov said the leopards' habitat had shrunk by half in the last 20 years with only 30-35 remaining in the Russian Far East and about 10 in neighboring China and North Korea.
"The Amur leopard is on the brink of extinction," Ivanov told the Russian Geographical Society, blaming poaching, logging and forest fires. "We need to take urgent measures to save the leopard."
Ivanov outlined some of the measures, including construction of a $100-million railroad tunnel under a hill where leopards live so that the wild cats can roam freely.