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Endangered Amur Tiger Makes Comeback In Russian Far-East

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by Staff Writers
Vladivostok (AFP) Apr 11, 2006
Highly endangered Amur tigers are making a tentative comeback in an inland part of the Russian far-east where they had not been sighted for over 50 years, conservation officials said Monday. Natural reservation rangers recently discovered the tracks of a female Amur tiger and her two cubs in the Amur region bordering China.

Environmentalists welcomed the news, saying the existence of the cubs also hints at the presence of at least one adult male in the area.

"The birth of the cubs gives a good chance to the re-establishment here of a stable pool" of Amur tigers, said Yelena Starostina, a spokeswoman for the local office of the WWF conservation group.

"Today, we know that, in addition to the female and the cubs, at least one large male lives in the region," she added.

"Tigers can further strengthen in the Amur region. There is enough food and a sufficient number of suitable places."

Rangers had already observed a few Amur tigers in the area over the past two years, but they were eventually killed by poachers. Things could be different this time around, Starostina said. "Of course, for now, poachers are a threat to the tigers, but enthusiasts are prepared to guard the tiger family," she said.

Amur tigers once roamed large areas around the basin of the Amur river, which marks the border between Russia and China. As late as a century ago, they were still largely present in the Russian far-east, north-western China and Korea.

Only 500 remain in Russia today, almost all of them in the coastal area of the Russian far-east, some 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) away from the Amur river basin.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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