Siberian tigers and Amur leopards reappear in the wild thanks to efforts to restore China’s natural ecosystems

Wild Siberian tigers are often found in the deep forests of eastern Jilin Province in the northeast of the country. They are sleeping snoring, resting enjoying the sun or walking with their family. The frequent appearance of wild Siberian tigers and Amur leopards, the top predators in the food chain, shows the continuous development of China’s ecological environment and ecosystem.

For a long time, Jilin Province has made great efforts to protect the authenticity and integrity of its natural ecosystem, including wild animals such as Siberian tigers and Amur leopards, to preserve biodiversity and the natural state of ecology of the region.

In 2017, the Siberian Tiger and Amur Leopard National Park were piloted. In October 2021, it became one of the first officially declared national parks. With a planned area of ​​14,100 km2, this park crosses Jilin and Heilongjiang provinces, with a forest cover of 97.74%. It is the only stable habitat and source of wild Siberian tigers and Amur leopards in China.

The photo shows a view of the Siberian Tiger and Amur Leopard National Park. (Photo courtesy of the National Forestry and Grassland Administration)

Jilin Province has invested a lot of human and material resources to restore and protect the forest ecology over the years, which is a difficult task. The logging of natural forests for commercial purposes is completely prohibited, and mining companies are closed or moved from the area, so that Siberian tigers and Amur leopards can live freely in their habitats.

“In 2015, Jilin Province plans to build a highway and a high-speed railway line, which when completed will pass through the habitat of Siberian tigers and Amur leopards and their migration route. To find a solution, as suggested by Feng Limin, an associate professor in the Department of Life Sciences at Beijing Normal University, and his research team, economic interests eventually give way to ecological protection and wildlife. .The highway project was eventually canceled and the high-speed rail line was moved.

According to statistics, since the implementation of the pilot project in the Siberian Tiger and Amur Leopard National Park, forests have been restored or cultivated on more than 400 hectares in the two provinces, and Korean pines have been planted. more than 2,000 acres. Three wildlife crossings were made. Forests have been restored on 2,243.21 hectares and ecological restoration has covered 620.91 hectares of mines. Ecological restoration covers 741 hectares, further enhancing wildlife habitat.

An image of a wild Siberian tiger was captured in the Siberian Tiger and Amur Leopard National Park. (Photo courtesy of the Siberian Tiger and Amur Leopard National Park Management Office of the Center for Cat Studies of the National Forestry and Grassland Administration)

Building a quality national park requires not only a healthy ecological environment, but also advanced science-based monitoring and protection methods.

Feng Limin and his team set up an air, ground and space surveillance system for the Siberian Tiger and Amur Leopard National Park, which includes nearly 30,000 infrared cameras and uses modern communication, cloud computing , artificial intelligence and big data technologies. This system enables real-time monitoring of wildlife activities and obtaining information on biodiversity and human activities and ecological elements. In addition, more than 6,800 rangers patrol the park to record GPS waypoint information and videos to protect wildlife day and night.

The Siberian Tiger and Amur Leopard National Park has changed significantly when it was a pilot project between 2017 and 2021. The quality of the park’s ecosystem has improved, with a continued reduction in the impact of human activities such as grazing. The number of herbivorous animals, such as the sika deer, increased rapidly. The food chain was restored very quickly.

On January 28, 2018, two Siberian tigers trained to resist the cold and live in the snow forest. (Wang Zhaobo/Pic.people.com.cn)

More than 50% of the park’s Siberian tiger cubs have reached adulthood now, compared to just 33% before the pilot project was set up. The places where Siberian tigers and Amur leopards live and their numbers are increasing rapidly, so their active activities are now recorded in more than half of the park, and Siberian tigers are observed in almost all of the Huichun Mountains, the central area of ​​the country. park.

The Siberian tiger in China was predicted to be extinct 10 years ago, as there will be 50 wild Siberian tigers and 60 Amur leopards in the park by the end of 2021, up from 27 and 42 in 2017. More than 10 cubs tiger and 7 leopard cubs were seen in the park.

“By 2025, we will restore habitats by combining nature reserves and state forest farms, building ecological corridors for Siberian tigers and Amur leopards, to make their habitats -an area that is more connected and suitable for their activities, for the regular breeding of these two species,” said an employee of the Siberian Tiger and Amur Leopard National Park.

(By Zhu Sixiong and Meng Haiying, People’s Daily reporter)

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