A wild Siberian tiger cub was sighted on Tuesday at a nature reserve in northeast China's Jilin Province, delighting conservation officers involved in protecting the endangered animal.
Zhang Wei, a policeman in the Hunchun natural reserve, said border guards sighted the cub at 4:30 PM at the foot of a hill. It was observed for five minutes before disappearing in bushes. Its weight was estimated at about 30 kg.
Local police have warned villagers against possible tiger attacks. This is only the second sighting in five years in the Hunchun reserve, which was established in December 2001 to become China's first reserve for Siberian tigers and Amur leopards.
There have been 14 reports of Siberian tiger attacks on humans and livestock so far this year.
Between eight and 10 Siberian tigers are believed to be living in the wilds of Jilin, two more than in 1996 when a province-wide hunting ban was introduced, said Wu Zhigang, a researcher with the Jilin Research Institute of Forestry.
Siberian tigers, also known as Manchurian tigers, are among the world's 10 most endangered species and live mostly in northeast China and the far eastern Russia.
They are estimated to number just 500 in the wild, with 20 living in the northeast China provinces of Jilin and Heilongjiang, according to Wu Zhigang.
(Xinhua News Agency November 8, 2006)