China is planning to let artificially-bred next-generation Siberian tigers to breed in the wild, a leading breeding center for the endangered species announced Tuesday.
A seven-year-old tiger gave birth to a female cub on July 25, 2011, which was the first successful breeding of a Siberian tiger in the wild in China.
"This cub, now one and a half years old, will play the leading role in the wild breeding plan of the next-generation tigers," said Liu Dan, chief engineer of the Heilongjiang Siberian Tiger Garden.
The center is the world's largest breeding facility for Siberian tigers.
The cub is currently more than 70 cm long and 50 kg in weight. Its physical agility and cold resistance ability is superior to its peers due to wild training, Liu said.
The park has found a male Siberian tiger, which is one meter long and 60 kg in weight, that will live with the female tiger in the free-roaming area, Liu said.
Breeding and living in the wild is key for the tigers to go back to the mountains, he said.
The wild breeding of the next-generation Siberian tigers is another attempt to restore the tigers' wild nature and is crucial in protecting the species, he added.
Siberian tigers are one of the world's rarest animal species. Only 300 are believed to be living in the wild, with 20 in northeast China.
The country has been trying to save the species through active breeding programs. The Heilongjiang center has bred more than 1,000 Siberian tigers since its establishment in 1986, when it had just eight of the large cats.