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Siberian tiger population falls sharply: survey

Von: abc (abc@123.cl) [Profil]
Datum: 27.11.2009 15:55
Message-ID: <20091127-145557.113.0@abc.shawnews.vc.shawcable.net>
Newsgroup: alt.animals.tiger alt.animals.felines alt.animals alt.animal
Siberian tiger population falls sharply: survey


November 26, 2009


Siberian tigers wait for their feeding time at the world's largest
Siberian tigers park in Harbin, in northeastern China's Heilongjiang
province, 01 January 2008.

Siberian tigers wait for their feeding time at the world's largest
Siberian tigers park in Harbin, in northeastern China's Heilongjiang
province, 01 January 2008.
Photograph by: Teh Eng Koon, AFP/Getty Images

WASHINGTON  The population of Siberian tigers is dropping sharply,
with researchers blaming the slump on poachers who are killing the
feline for its pelt and bones, a report showed Wednesday.

A survey of a representative portion of the tigers' range in the
Russian Far East found only 56 of the large felines, according to the
report coordinated by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), Russian
government and non-governmental organizations.

That represents a 41 percent decline from a 12-year average of around
95 tigers in a monitoring area of around 15 percent of the tigers'
total natural habitat, the report said.

Researchers are "extrapolating there's a decline across the board" from
a range-wide count of the tigers completed in 2005 that showed there
were 500 of the beasts roaming Siberia, WCS spokesman Stephen Sautner
said.

The report's authors blame the decline mainly on increased poaching of
the big cats and their preys.

The animals are being killed for their fur and for tiger bone, which is
used in traditional medicines, Sautner said.

Annual tiger surveys aimed at detecting changes in the tiger's numbers
are conducted at 16 monitoring sites scattered across the feline's
habitat.

Range-wide surveys of the tigers are conducted less frequently, largely
because of the logistical problems associated with working in icy
Siberia, tracking a secretive animal whose habitat covers hundreds of
thousands of square miles (kilometers).

A 1996 survey covering the tigers' entire habitat of around 69,500
square miles (180,000 square kilometers) found over 400 of the felines
in the Russian Far East, and the most recent range-wide survey counted
up to 500 tigers in 2005.

"They were never an abundant species. But they have come back quite a
bit since the 1940s when there were only 30 Siberian tigers," said
Sautner.

Russia has taken many key steps to conserve the species, starting with
a hunting ban in 1947.

The new slump in the number of tigers was "a wake-up call that current
conservation efforts are not going far enough to protect Siberian
tigers," said Dale Miquelle of WCS's Russian Far East Program and a
lead author of the report.


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