June 5, 2009

China, Russia to protect tiger habitat

China and Russia say cross-border habitat unique to Siberian tigers and Far East leopards will be protected under a joint pact.

The agreement signed Thursday in Moscow calls for creation of a nature reserve straddling Russia and China's shared border, especially around the Songhua River, where pollution needs to be reduced, Xinhua, China's state-run news agency reported Friday.

An estimated 500 Siberian tigers, also called Amur tigers, remain in the wild, while fewer than 40 Far East leopards, or Amur leopards, are believed to exist in their solitary habitat along the border with China in the Khasan Region.

The joint habitat protection program also will aid migrating birds, Xinhua reported.