Monday, 18 September 2017

Kazakhstan to reintroduce wild tigers after 70-year absence

Project supported by WWF is likely to take many years and involves creation of nature reserve and restoration of forest
Friday 8 September 2017 08.52 BSTLast modified on Friday 8 September 2017 10.25 BST
Wild tigers are to be reintroduced to Kazakhstan 70 years after they became extinct in the country.
The animals will be reintroduced in the Ili-Balkhash region in a project that involves the creation of a nature reserve and the restoration of a forest that is part of the animal’s historical range.
If successful, Kazakhstan will be the first country in the world to bring wild tigers back to an entire region where they have been extinct for nearly half a century. Previous relocation projects have only been considered in existing tiger habitats, such as in reserves in India.
Poaching and habitat loss has decimated the wildlife on which wild tigers once fed, including the kulkan, or wild donkey, and bactrian deer, both native to central Asia. The animals will be reintroduced to the nature reserve to provide enough food for the tigers when they are relocated from elsewhere in Asia.
The project, which is being supported by WWF, is likely to take many years. The landscape has to be prepared and the wildlife they feed on reintroduced before the first tigers are brought in in 2025 at the earliest.
Igor Chestin, the director of WWF-Russia said: “Thanks to years of close collaboration between Kazakhstan and Russian conservation experts, we have now identified the best possible territory in Ili-Balkhash for the restoration of a thriving wild tiger population.

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