International Tiger Forum opens in Russia

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The International Tiger Conservation Forum on Sunday opened in Russia's second largest city St. Petersburg, and the 13 participating tiger range countries called for joint efforts on tiger conservation.

Russia's Natural Resources and Environment Minister Yuri Trutnev, whose ministry hosted the forum, said that the number of tigers had plummeted by 30 times in the past 100 years.

According to World Wildlife Fund (WWF) figures, tiger numbers have dwindled from about 100,000 to the current 3,200 and continue to fall.

"The population of tigers is being exhausted both quantitatively and qualitatively. As many as three out of eight tiger subspecies have become extinct," Trutnev said at the forum's first high-level meeting on measures to save the endangered species, calling for a coordination of participants to prevent tiger extinction.

Ge Rui, Asian regional director of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), which co-hosted the forum, told Xinhua that the forum gives world leaders an opportunity to discuss on the fragility of nature.

"For tiger conservation, it's a new start. Tiger range countries will discuss tiger protection on the forum, and IFAW is hoping the forum can bear fruit," she said.

The International Tiger Forum, which has drawn representatives from tiger range countries including Bangladesh, Bhutan, Vietnam, India, Indonesia, Cambodia, China, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia and Thailand as well as various international organizations, will last till Nov. 24.

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