Wed, 31 Jul 2013 10:48:09 GMT

China steps up protection of tigers



From K J M Varma
Beijing, Jul 30 (PTI) Under attack for not cracking down on the use of tiger body parts in traditional medicine, China has finalised two separate agreements with India and Russia to step up protection of tigers and other endangered species, the state-media reported today.

China reached an agreement with India at a meeting in Kunming city to work on protecting tiger habitats and combat illegal wildlife trade.

Indian officials here said that the two sides had reached an understanding in 2010 to share actionable intelligence with India besides nominating nodal officers for sharing of real- time information against poachers but they are not aware of any new agreement on tiger conservation.

The countries had signed an MOU on tiger conservation in 1995 which calls for efforts on both sides to stop poaching.

Indian officials believe that China''s support for tiger conservation was crucial as the demand for tiger parts, especially bones, was blamed to be the main reason for poaching of tigers in India and in other parts of the world.

The Kunming conference called the International Workshop for Transboundary Conservation of Tigers and Other Endangered Species, and the Strategy for Combating Illegal Trade in Wildlife was organised by the State Forestry Administration to observe Global Tiger Day on July 29.

At the conference, China also signed an agreement with Russia to step up cross-border cooperation to build two ecological corridors on their shared border to save the Siberian tigers'' habitat, state-run China Daily reported.

The ecological corridors will allow wild Siberian tigers to migrate freely without disturbance from humans.

Siberian tigers, according to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), were on the edge of extinction in the 1960s, but their numbers have recovered.

Of the roughly 450 Siberian tigers today, around 20 live in China along its border with Russia, said Wang Weisheng, Division Director of the Department of Wildlife Conservation and Nature Reserve Management under the State Forestry Administration.

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