Extraordinary WWF footage captures first ever Siberian tigers to be filmed in China

The WWF said the latest footage showed that conservation efforts were helping to boost Amur tiger numbers

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The Independent Online

Incredibly rare footage has been captured by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) showing the first Chinese Siberian tigers ever to be been filmed in the wild.

In the video taken last week by specially positioned WWF camera traps in northern China’s Wangqing Nature Reserve, a tiger mother is seen keeping watch over two of her cubs as they play fight with one another.

The footage was said to have been taken 20 miles from the Chinese-Russian border and is the first evidence of Siberian tigers, also known as Amur tigers, living deep inside China. According to the WWF, the fact that the young tigers, thought to be one-and-a-half years old, were so deep into China meant that there were strong indications that they could have been born in the country.

The video marks a triumph for Siberian tiger conservationists who have worked for years to try and establish an Siberian tiger population in inland China.

Amur tigers were once found across northern China and Russia; however, intensive hunting in both countries meant that by the 1940s their numbers had dwindled to 40 and there was a real chance that the species was heading for extinction.

In 1952, Russia gave Siberian tigers full protection and this has contributed to their numbers growing to an estimated 400 tigers living in the wild today.

The WWF say that the latest footage is further evidence that conservation efforts are continuing to help to boost Siberian tiger numbers.

Shi Quanhua, senior manager of the WWF-China Asian big cats programme, said: “This video proves that wild Amur tiger populations are steadily spreading into inland China and are settling down.

”Many years of conservation work have led to this stunning footage - establishing conservation areas, building a population of prey animals and installing over 100 infrared cameras in largely inaccessible areas.“

There are now plans to further grow numbers by creating protected areas for tigers, as well as reintroducing animals that would be the tigers’ natural prey back into the Wangqing Nature Reserve.