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I thought you would be interested in this article from environment: YALE magazine, the Journal of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies.
By Richard Conniff
When Dale Miquelle first went to work with Amur (or Siberian) tigers in the Russian Far East in 1992, wildlife experts expected that the subspecies would be extinct by the end of the 20th century. The population had dipped to as low as 30 individuals in the 1940s before rebounding as a result of strict Soviet wildlife management, to about 200 to 300 animals in the early 1990s. Then the Soviet Union collapsed, taking almost all environmental enforcement down with it. As the ruble and the Far East economy went into free-fall, the tiger’s prey species, including deer and wild boar, often wound up in the dinner pots of hungry locals. Commercial poachers targeted the tigers themselves, selling the carcasses for $5,000 or more to the traditional-medicine market just over the border in China.
It was hardly an auspicious time to start the Siberian Tiger Project, a joint Russian-American effort now managed by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). Or maybe it was the best possible time, because 17 years and more than $10 million later, Panthera tigris altaica survives, with a population estimated at 350 to 400 individuals in the wild. This relative success comes against a backdrop of dramatic decline in tiger populations elsewhere. In India this summer, for instance, Panna Nature Reserve announced that its tigers have been completely wiped out by poaching, following the pattern established at Sariska, another prominent Indian nature reserve, in 2005. Tigers worldwide have vanished from 41 percent of the habitat…
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