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Russia, China to set up joint reserve to protect tigers


MOSCOW, June 4 (RIA Novosti) - Russia and China have agreed to start preparations to create a cross-border nature reserve to protect endangered Siberian tigers and Far East leopards.

The decision was announced at a meeting of a subcommittee on environment protection in Beijing on Thursday. The agreement was signed by Russia's Minister of Natural Resources, Yury Trutnev, and his Chinese counterpart Zhou Shengxian.

At two-day talks the Russian and Chinese officials also discussed the issues of cross-border pollution, particularly in the Songhua River, and ways to protect the environment.

The officials also stressed the importance of further "deepening the Russian-Chinese cooperation in environmental protection" as a key area of the countries' strategic partnership.

The sides acknowledged the importance of restoring wild animal populations in cross-border regions based on joint programs. The countries are also to hold consultations in the near future to protect migrating birds.

Siberian tigers, also known as Amur tigers, are the largest subspecies of tigers, growing to over 3 meters in length and weighing up to 300 kilograms. They are on the World Conservation Union's critically endangered status list, and there are only about 500 of them left in the wild. Since 2006, poachers are known to have killed around 10 in Russia's Far East.

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