Not everything is bigger in the United States… In only a handful of years, a national park 60% larger than Yellowstone will be constructed in northeast China, in the Jilin and Heilongjiang provinces. The project has been approved so that Siberian tigers, which are endangered due to poaching and habitat loss – primarily from logging, will be protected. Amur leopards will also find sanctuary in the new national park.
Conservation efforts, including a logging ban, have helped increased the population of wild Siberian tigers in the area from six to nine in 1998 to 27 in 2015, reports the Shanghaiist. However, the current reserve for the tigers is not large enough for the species to thrive, which is why a park which will cover 14,600 square kilometers (or 5,600 square miles) is to be constructed and completed by 2020.
Nearly all Siberian tigers on the planet live in Russia, with at least 400 estimated to be in the gargantuan country. Able to grow up to 13 feet in length and weigh up to 700 lbs, it’s a wonder as to why anyone would butcher the majestic-looking animals. As it turns out, however, their fur and boy parts are heavily relied upon in Traditional Chinese Medicine, and some humans are more than willing to poach the endangered creatures to meet demand. This continues, despite the practice of using Siberian tiger parts being considered unlawful in China.
In 2007, the global population of Amur leopards was less than 30, mainly due to hunting and other human activities. Thanks to conservation groups such as the World Wildlife Fund (WFF) and their efforts, populations of the leopard have almost doubled, according to 2015 statistics. However, more still needs to be done, as IFLScience points out.
Because China has what Science Magazine considers to be a “mishmash of national reserves, semi-protected forests, and provincial parks,” the country is improving its efforts to develop a respectable national park. Officials also hope that the country’s reputation of failing to provide adequate care for some creatures – such as overweight tigers in one of its main tourist parks – is improved. In addition to Amur leopards and Siberian tigers being protected, the park will shelter giant pandas, the Tibetan antelope, and the Asian elephant.
“The [US] national parks program eventually expanded to include more than 450 sites and has become one of the country’s greatest tourist draws. Now China is trying to do with some of its natural spaces what the United States did during its own industrial boom.”
Within just a few years, one might be afforded the opportunity to visit the national park in China which will offer sanctuary to a number of endangered and protected species. What are your thoughts? Please comment below and share this news!
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