Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Another Siberian tiger spotted in Heilongjiang!

Last month a rare Siberian tiger was found dead in Heilongjiang, and this month another has been caught on film in the same region.

This is the first time that a wild Siberian tiger has been captured on camera in the Heilongjiang region. The cameras were set up in the mountainous Wandashan area of the Amur-Heilong eco-region after paw prints, signs of bedding, and boar kills were discovered in the area.

Dr. Zhu Chunquan, Conservation Director of Biodiversity and Operations at WWF-China comments on the siting.

    "[The photo] adds to the evidence of a possible population settlement in the region. Action need to be taken to enhance existing protection methods for tigers, such as the immediate launch of greater safety precautions, the thorough removal of snares and developing more detailed monitoring techniques.”

A snare was responsible for the death of the Siberian tiger found washed up on the banks of a reservoir in Heilongjiang last month, contrary to speculation it was killed by poachers reacting to media reports.

There are only an estimated 18-22 of these wild creatures left in China, and barely 500 left in the world that are not living on reserves, most found in eastern Russia.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

WWF snaps first shots of wild Siberian tiger in NE China Mountains

An infrared camera set up by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and forestry authorities in Northeast China's Jilin province has captured images of a wild Siberian tiger in the Wanda Mountains.

Zhu Jiang, head of the WWF NE-China Program Office, said Saturday that the photos, taken earlier this month, are the first images of a wild Siberian tiger taken in the mountainous area.

He said the evidence confirms the mountains' role as an important habitat for the endangered species, and reinforces the need for local authorities to tighten protection measures, especially improving animal rescue efforts.

The agency estimates that there are fewer than 20 wild Siberian tigers remaining in China. They live in Heilongjiang and Jilin provinces.

Zhu said animal traps still pose a major threat to the safety of wild Siberian tigers, as a WWF survey found an average 1.6 traps for every 10 kilometers in its nature reserves last winter.

A wild Siberian tiger was found dead with a trap around its neck in the city of Mishan, Heilongjiang, in October.

"The WWF hopes to cooperate with local governments to protect Siberian tigers and restore their habitats," said Zhu. "We aim to help double the population of wild Siberian tigers in China by 2022, the next Year of the Tiger," he said.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Snare suspected in Siberian tiger's death

The suspected cause of a recent death of a wild Siberian tiger was a neck snare, says an animal expert.

An animal expert checks the carcass of a Siberian tiger at Fusheng village, Heilongjiang province, Oct 28, 2011.

                                                  A rusty snare stuck around the tiger's neck.

The tiger, which was found dead on Oct 27 by a reservior in Fusheng village, Mishan city in Heilongjiang province, could have accidentally gotten stuck in the snare, possibly made by hunters using steel wire, Sun Haiyi, vice-director from the wildlife research institution, said Saturday, according to a Xinhua report.

Sun, who rushed to the village with his colleagues for a preliminary investigation, says the rusty stains on the snare suggest it has been around the tiger's neck for a while. It caused no fatal harm to the big cat immediately, but it could have affected its food in-take process and limited its hunting activities, leading to its death.

The carcass of the tiger was sent to the institution on Friday night for further post-mortem examination.

Experts also confirmed that it was a 2-year-old wild Siberian tiger, the same one that was spotted near a reservoir in the village on Oct 17.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Rare Siberian tiger spotted in Heilongjiang, found dead 5 days later

Three days ago, there was a small blip in the news regarding excited wild life enthusiasts spotting a rare Siberian tiger. Today, a Siberian tiger, possibly the same one, was found dead only 5 days after the initial sighting.

The adult male tiger had been briefly spotted by locals near a reservoir in Mishan, Heilongjiang Province on October 22nd. Scientists then descended on the area to study the extremely endangered animal's behavior, and used paw prints found near the banks to determine the tiger was a two-year-old adult.

A mere 5 days after the sighting and 3 days after the report, the dead body was found lying on the shore of the same reservoir. How the tiger died is still unknown, though researchers are currently examining the body to determine the cause.

The publicity the spotting received in the news could suggest poachers were involved in the death, but the fact that the body was abandoned seemingly intact could either suggest foul play or that the poachers were scared off before they were able to claim their prize. Either way, the death is a great loss to the fragile ecosystem in which these animals reside.

There are only an estimated 18-22 of these wild creatures left in China, and barely 500 left in the world that are not living on reserves.