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WWF Funds Ecological Protection in Heilongjiang River Valley

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) will invest 1.2 billion euros in the coming years to help improve the environment in the valley of the Heilongjiang River which runs the border between China and Russia.
The money will be mainly used in the construction of nature reserves in the border areas , building of a cross-border passage for Siberian tigers, protection of valuable forests, environmental protection in the Xingkai Lake area and development of tourism in northeast China's Heilongjiang Province.
This is part of a program launched by the WWF to build a "green corridor," for the purpose of maintaining balanced development between mankind and nature, in the valley of Heilongjiang River which runs through Russia, Mongolia and China.  
Preparations for ecological protection in the river valley areas in Mongolia are going smoothly, according to sources with the WWF.
Zhu Chunquan, forest program director of WWF China, said the WWF has during the past three years invested about US$1.5 million in Heilongjiang Province and another US$4 million in Russia to support China and Russian to build nature reserves and develop projects for sustainable use of natural resources.
Research has found that the Heilongjiang River, with abundant natural resources, is one of the few rivers in the world which have been well preserved. The river valley has the richest wetland resources and forest biodiversity in the world.
Zhu said the protection of biodiversity should not be separated by boundaries within the 1.84 million square kilometers region irrigated by the Heilongjiang River, among which about 940,000 square kilometers are in China.
Many species such as the Siberian tiger and black bear need a large habitat. Hundreds of bird species such as the red-crowned crane and white crane also take it as a migrant passage or habitats, Zhu said. Governments, companies and institutes in the region should work with international organizations to carry out biodiversity conservation. 

(Xinhua News Agency June 18, 2005)

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