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China, Russia boost cross-border protection of Siberian tigers, Amur leopards

06-03-2011 16:12 BJT

HARBIN, June 3 (Xinhua) -- Environmental officials from China and Russia have decided to work together to improve the protection of Siberian tigers and Amur leopards in order to save the two endangered species.

Officials from both sides made the agreement at an environmental protection conference held on Thursday in Harbin, capital of northeastern China's Heilongjiang Province.

The decision is part of a series of environmental cooperation agreements signed by the two countries at the conference.

The Global Tiger Recovery Program will be carried out by both sides, with a panel of experts being organized to figure out the most efficient way to protect Siberian tigers living on the China-Russia border. The creation of a joint natural reserve for Amur leopards is also under consideration.

Siberian tigers and Amur leopards mainly live in east Russia, northeast China and mountainous areas in North Korea.

Less than 500 Siberian tigers and 40 Amur leopards currently live in the wild.

However, Siberian tigers have been frequently seen around China-Russia border areas in recent years, due to joint protection efforts made by both countries.

"China and Russia should break through national boundaries to protect nature jointly," said Vsevolod Stepanistskiy, deputy director of Russia's department of state policy and regulation for environmental protection and safety.

He also pointed out that it is essential to protect biodiversity and prevent these rare species from going extinct.

Both sides also reached agreements to deepen cooperation in the management and control of transnational rivers, as well as other agreements concerning wetland protection and environment policies, at the conference.

Editor:Wang Xiaomei |Source: Xinhua

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