China releases deer to lure Siberian Tigers from Russia

China has released dozens of deer near its border with Russia to lure the Siberian Tigers.

Beijing: China has released dozens of deer near its border with Russia to lure the Siberian Tigers, whose population has been dwindling alarmingly in the recent years due to denuding forests and poaching.

12 red deer and 22 sika deer were released into the forest in Wangqing county near Changbai Mountain in Jilin province, in a programme initiated by World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and local forestry authorities.

The deer are expected to complete the food chain of the Siberian tigers, luring them to migrate from far eastern Russia to China, Fan Zhiyong, a director at WWF China was quoted as saying by official media here.

"The Siberian tiger population is nearing saturation in Russia, while China`s Changbai Mountain, Wanda Mountain and Greater Khingan Range are very suitable places for them to settle," Fan said.

The project launched yesterday to mark the World Tiger Day, will also include reforestation, anti-poaching campaigns and population monitoring activities in the Changbai Mountain regions, according to WWF.

Siberian tigers are among the rarest species in the world. About 500 are estimated to live in the wild worldwide, most of which inhabit eastern Russia while only about 20 live in northeast China.

Regular sightings of the rare felines, however, have been reported in China in recent years, prompting calls to enhance cooperation with Russia on tiger protection and the expansion of natural reserves.

China itself has problems protecting Tigers as their bones were regarded as important ingredients in Chinese traditional medicines.

China has banned trading in tiger parts but its wide spread medical usage in the traditional medicine spurs demand for the bones of the big cats.