Recommendations by the WWF on China’s Amur Tiger Protection Plan are based on a study on the potential tiger habitat in the Changbaishan areas of Northeast China which borders the Russian Far East and North Korea.
The study suggests that effective protection measures over the past 50 years have helped the Amur tiger bounce back in the Russian Far East, boosting the population to 430-500 today, and this makes it possible for Amur tigers to migrate into neighbouring China. The study also says that large tracts of forest in Changbaishan and other areas of Northeast China can support the migrating tigers and provide the conditions necessary to maintain tiger habitat and prey over the long term.
Approximately 38,500 square km of potential tiger habitat remains in the Changbaishan landscape. The study divides this into nine Tiger Conservation Priority Areas (TPAs) which consist of prime habitat surrounded and connected by lower quality forest that allows movement between patches.
In addition to the nine TPAs, the recommendations also identify a new TPA in the Wandashan region, another key area for tigers in Northeast China. Meanwhile, Xiaoxinganling is recommended as an area that warrants further study as a potential home for Amur tigers.
For each priority area, WWF proposes protection and recovery approaches which include:
- establishing new nature reserves and expanding and improving existing ones;
- establishing ecological corridors between large patches of potential tiger habitat to facilitate the movement of tiger population;
- improving habitat and prey quality and quantity;
- promoting tiger-friendly forest management;
- monitoring tigers, prey and habitat, and reintroducing prey species; and
- developing alternative livelihoods to reduce the potential impact of tiger conservation on local communities.
The recommendations also set a goal of protecting 40,000 square km of tiger habitat and 50 tigers in China by 2020.