China discusses tiger conservation at National People's Congress

Posted on 13 March 2015

President Xi Jinping gives wild tiger conservation a boost
Every year, attention turns to the National People's Congress and Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference. It’s at this annual event that China’s leadership charts the future direction for the world’s second largest economy and its 1.3 billion citizens.

WWF is excited to recognize that tiger conservation in China received top political mention at this year’s meeting. The People's Daily, an official newspaper of the government of China, formally recorded the exchange about tiger conversation between President Xi Jinping and a provincial representative.

After hearing news that Jilin Province's tiger population has grown to 27, People's Daily reported that President Xi commended the progress and emphasized the ongoing need for practical conservation work to be done in the field.

“We congratulate President Xi Jinping for putting wild tiger conservation on China’s highest political agenda,” said Marco Lambertini, Director General of WWF International. “This gives us tremendous optimism not just for the Amur tiger but for wild tigers and our dwindling biodiversity globally.”

“This shows that China is paying attention to economic development and at the same time to environmental and ecosystem sustainability,” said Sze Ping Lo, CEO of WWF China.

Alongside its goal to build an ‘ecological civilization’, the Chinese government has strongly supported tiger conservation. In 2010, then Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao joined leaders from other tiger range countries in a pledge to double global tiger numbers by the year 2022 through an initiative known as ‘Tx2’.

Amur tigers live in two provinces in China: Jilin and Heilongjiang. The last official national population figure of approximately 20 Amur tigers was issued by the government in 2010. Globally, there are estimated to be about 3,200 wild tigers left in existence, with the majority of Amur tigers living in Russia.

“This increase shows the great tiger conservation work that China has been carrying out,” said Shi Quanhua, Head of Asia Big Cats Programme, WWF China. “The next step is for the government to carry out a full census, so that we can work to ensure that Amur tigers have the space, food and protection they require to thrive.”

Discussion of tiger conservation at China’s top political meeting closely follows the release of WWF camera trap footage demonstrating that wild Amur tigers are breeding in China.
The Amur tiger is the largest of the five remaining tiger species.
Top cat: Amur tigers receive high-level political mention in China.
© WWF Russia / Vasilii Solkin
An Amur tiger resting. The world's largest cat, Amur tigers are found only in Northeastern China and the Russian Far East
© Vladimir Filonov/WWF