CHANGCHUN, Feb. 2 (Xinhua) -- It has been 12 years since China celebrated the Year of the Tiger -- a time when the wild Siberian tiger was forecast to vanish from the country. But now, 12 years later, the nation has triumphed in rescuing the endangered feline.
In the Chinese culture, the tiger is a symbol of courage and strength, and thus many Chinese couples wish to have babies in the tiger year falling on Tuesday this year.
In 2010, 13 tiger-range countries committed to doubling the global population of wild tigers by 2022. Nowadays, China has run ahead of schedule when it comes to protecting Siberian tigers, also known as Amur or Manchurian tigers.
SETTING UP A NATIONAL PARK
Feng Limin, a member of a Beijing Normal University research team that monitored these tigers for a decade, noted that with a high demand for territory, the felid will still be disturbed in traditional nature reserves, where land is always scattered and certain human activities still exist.
In October 2021, China officially designated the Northeast China Tiger and Leopard National Park, which spans an area of over 1.4 million hectares in the northeastern provinces of Jilin and Heilongjiang.
The latest data shows that the population of wild Siberian tigers in the park has expanded to 50, compared to 27 in 2017, when the pilot project of the park was launched.
The park has implemented a series of measures to protect the wildlife, such as withdrawal of factories and mines and forest vegetation restoration.
"It is a turning point of the Siberian tiger's fate," said Feng.
Chen Xiaocai, director of the park administration's comprehensive department, said that five spreading channels of tigers and leopards have been identified. Monitoring data indicates that the forest growing stock in the park increased by 5.2 percent during the pilot period.
SMOOTHING HUMAN-TIGER CONFLICTS
"It snowed heavily that year, and I was walking to the village when a tiger suddenly appeared dozens of meters away. I was scared to run, but it was too late," Qu Shuangxi, a local from Guandaogou Village of Hunchun City, Jilin Province, said recalling when he was knocked to the ground by a tiger.
Nearly 100,000 residents live in the park, said Li Dongwei, with the park administration's Hunchun bureau, adding that the administration has been reinforcing wild tiger tracking, early warning and emergency response.
Early in 2006, the Jilin provincial government started to promulgate measures for compensation for personal and property damage caused by protected wildlife.
"We are not worried. If the land was ruined by wild boars, if the cattle were eaten, there would be state compensation," said Chen Limin, another villager.
Authorities said that the park will introduce a commercial insurance mechanism for compensation for such injuries and damage.
For those who gave up forest-related life and production, the park also managed to help them find other jobs and alternative cash cows, such as beekeeping and becoming forest rangers. ■