The Amur tiger, also known as the Siberian tiger, is the largest cat in the world. They live in northeastern China, the Russian Far East, and possibly also in North Korea.
Amur tigers face many threats. These include poaching, habitat loss and fragmentation, prey loss, and human-wildlife conflict. They are the most endangered big cat subspecies.
However, researchers who have been studying Amur tigers in China have some good news to report!
A tiger slinking past a camera trap in northeast China. Image by WCS.
The researchers found evidence that at least 55 Amur tigers now live in the forests of northeastern China. The tigers were caught on camera trap between 2013 and 2018.
This is a big increase in the number of tigers found in this area compared to the 1990s. Back then, about eight tigers were known to live in this region.
According to Dale Miquelle, director of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Russia, part of the reason for the tigers’ appearance in northeastern China is due to changes in forest protection. The Natural Forest Protection Project (NFPP) stopped timber harvesting in the region, which has allowed forests to grow back and created better habitat for tigers.
“There is still a long way to go to build a viable future for tigers in northeast China, but the situation looks good,” Miquelle said. “National leaders of both Russia and China have demonstrated a sincere interest in Amur tiger conservation, providing a strong foundation for their recovery.”
The landscape near the Hunchun National Nature Reserve in China, which is inhabited by Amur tigers. Image by WCS.