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Wild Siberian tiger spotted in NE China

2012-11-21 08:43 Xinhua     Web Editor: Mo Hong'e comment

A wild Siberian tiger was spotted on a forestry farm in northeast China's Heilongjiang Province on Sunday, forestry officials said Tuesday.

The tiger, believed to have been hunting for a wild boar at the time, came face to face with several workers late in the afternoon on a forestry farm administered by the Dongfanghong Forestry Bureau (DFB) in the eastern part of the province, said an official with the provincial Forestry Industry Bureau.

The farm is located on the scarcely populated Wandashan Mountain, where wild Siberian tigers have been spotted many times, but it was the first time for such an animal to come so close to human beings.

"We had just finished work in the forest when the tiger appeared out of nowhere," said Shi Chun, one of the workers who saw the tiger.

Upon seeing the animal, the workers rushed to their tractor to avoid possible attacks. The tiger followed the tractor for several hundred meters before going away, Shi said.

The tiger remained mild throughout the encounter, and the workers even managed to snap a few photos of it.

The pictures, though blurry due to the darkened sky, show a Siberian tiger with white hair in its face.

Local authorities on Monday checked the site where the big cat was spotted and found plum-shaped pawprints, which they believe belong to a grown wild Siberian tiger.

Yang Lijuan, a wild animal protection official with the DFB, said the forestry farm is a good site for wild animal reproduction.

"The farm is in a zone where coniferous and broad-leaved trees grow, which provides much food for the tigers' prey, such as boar and deer," she said.

Siberian tigers, otherwise known as Amur or Manchurian tigers, mainly live in eastern Russia, northeast China and the northern part of the Korean Peninsula.

It is estimated that only about 500 currently live in the wild, with about 12 in Heilongjiang Province and eight to ten in neighboring Jilin Province.

The DFB has stepped efforts to increase food for wild boar, roe deer and red deer in its forestry farms where Siberian tigers have been spotted to ensure ample prey for the endangered species.

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