China, Russia to set up cross-border tiger protection zone
China and Russia have agreed to set up the first cross-border protection zone for Siberian tigers, as they try to boost efforts to save the endangered species, state media reported Monday.
The zone will straddle China's northeastern province of Jilin and Russia's Primorsky Krai region, and authorities in both countries will launch an anti-poaching campaign along the border, the China Daily newspaper said.
They will also adopt identical monitoring systems for Siberian tigers and their prey, conduct joint ecological surveys and step up the amount of information they share, the report said.
"A... transnational protection area will provide a wider and healthier habitat for Siberian tigers and other endangered species, such as the Far East leopard," Yu Changchun of Jilin's forestry department was quoted as saying.
There are an estimated 500 Siberian tigers living in the wild, of which only around 20 live in China's northeast.
Degradation of the animal's habitat and poaching of the tiger and its prey are blamed for its rapid disappearance.
China banned international trade in tiger bones and related products in 1993 but preventing all poaching and illegal trade remains a challenge.
© 2010 AFP