Chinese volunteers clearing snares to protect endangered Siberian tigers

Chinese volunteers clearing snares to protect endangered Siberian tigers 2008-01-15 20:47:50
HUICHUN, Jilin Province, Jan. 15 (Xinhua) — A group of volunteers are making their rounds in mountains and clearing snares in northeast China in a bid to protect endangered Siberian tigers.
Altogether 74 people of different professions from across China have participated in the six-day drive that will last till Saturday at a Siberian tiger nature reserve in Huichun, bordering Russia and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
Braving chilly winds and temperatures as low as minus 23 degrees Celsius, the volunteers will focus their efforts on clearing snares and other illegal tools placed by greedy poachers.
“Everyone is bound to make efforts for the harmonious co-existence between human beings and Siberian tigers,” said 56-year-old Li Zhixing, a member of the volunteer team and also secretary-general of the Huichun Tianhe Siberian Tiger Protection Association, the first non-governmental organization in China that is committed to protecting the endangered species.
The association was founded in August last year, grouping mainly local farmers.
“Please take away your pictures but nothing else, and leave your footprints but nothing more,” Li explained the rules to the volunteers before they set out to the mountains where Siberian tigers are likely to show up.
The drive was jointly launched by volunteers from across the country, Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) China Program, and the Administration Bureau of Huichun Siberian Tiger Nature Reserve.
Similar drives have been launched in recent years in Huichun and other regions, like the neighboring Heilongjiang Province.
A year ago, 73 volunteers from across the country came to the border city, walked 455 km, removed 289 illegal poaching tools and cleared 4,081 hectares of possible poaching space, according to WCS China Program.
“We’re probably not able to clear all the snares here, but we must spread the awareness of animal protection to everybody,” said23-year-old Yu Chenxing, a girl postgraduate majoring in wildlife protection from the southern Chinese city of Nanning.
Siberian tigers, among the world’s 10 most endangered species, mostly live in northeast China and the Far East area of Russia. Of the 400 estimated to live in the wild, only 10 to 17 live in northeast China.
The Siberian tiger is listed as “endangered” on the Red List of Threatened Species of the World Conservation Union and is also listed on the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) Appendix I which prohibits the trade of live tigers or tiger parts.

For The Tiger

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