With only 540 individuals in the wild, the Amur (AKA Siberian) tiger is one of the most endangered animals on the planet. One of the most significant threats facing the world’s largest cat is poaching. There is a huge demand for their body parts in traditional Asian medicine, and poachers have been using abandoned logging roads in Siberia to fill that demand.
The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), Russian authorities, and logging companies have agreed to make these roads unusable for people. They plan to do whatever it takes: dig trenches, tear down bridges, or bulldoze the roads into oblivion. They will also monitor the area afterwards to make sure the obstacles are effective.
These may seem like drastic measures, but that is exactly what Amur tigers need. For years I thought this species was doomed. Their population was so low, and the demand for their parts so high, that I did not see how they could saved. But their numbers are rising. Aggressive anti-poaching methods like this have contributed to their success.
This story highlights what can happen when conservation organizations, regional governments, and local people work together. The future of Amur tigers is far from certain, but I now realize it was wrong for me to give up on them.
There is still hope.