WWF demands traps clearing after tiger's death

Updated: 2011-11-02 21:28


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CHANGCHUN - The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Wednesday urged China to clear animal traps to protect the habitat of endangered tigers in the northeast of the country.

An official from the agency made the call days after a wild Siberian tiger was found dead with a trap around its neck in the city of Mishan in the province of Heilongjiang.

Animal traps still pose a major threat to the safety of wild Siberian tigers and their prey, said Zhu Jiang, director of the WWF NE China Program Office.

A WWF survey found an average of 1.6 traps for every 10 km of distance covered in the Siberian tiger nature reserves in Heilongjiang and its neighboring Jilin province last winter, Zhu told Xinhua.

"WWF hopes to cooperate with local governments to protect Siberian tigers and restore their habitats," Zhu told Xinhua. "We aim to help double the population of wild Siberian tigers in China by 2022, the next Year of the Tiger," he said.

On October 27, a villager in Mishan found a dead tiger near a reservoir and animal researchers later confirmed it was a Siberian breed.

The researchers found a steel wire around the tiger's neck, although they believe the animal didn't suffocate to death, but died from hunger as the trap prevented it from hunting and eating.

The reservoir site lies between two major potential habitats for Siberian tigers and if better managed, could serve as a migration corridor for the big cats, they believe.

Siberian tigers are among the world's rarest wild animals. Their population is estimated at 500, mostly living in Russia's far east and China's northeast. China is thought to have only 20 living in the forests in Heilongjiang and Jilin.

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