WWF Says Efforts Underway To Reintroduce Tigers To Kazakhstan Wild

(@FahadShabbir)

WWF Says Efforts Underway to Reintroduce Tigers to Kazakhstan Wild

MOSCOW (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 03rd March, 2021) Tigers may be reintroduced into the Kazakh wild within this decade if rewilding efforts pay off in due time, Dmitry Gorshkov, director of World Wide Fund for Nature in Russia, told Sputnik on Wednesday, the World Wildlife Day.

In 2017, Kazakhstan first announced its plans to reintroduce the tiger into the wild 60 years after it went extinct. Wild tigers completely disappeared from the region in the 1960s as a result of habitat loss, hunting and poaching. According to Gorshkov, the last wild tiger in Kazakhstan was killed in 1968.

"Returning tigers to Kazakhstan is one of the major projects supported by WWF Russia... The nature reserve for restoring the population of ungulates, which are tigers' Primary food source, has already been created... Optimistically speaking, we may be able to release tigers into the wild in the second half of the 2020s," Gorshkov said.

He noted that in many ways, this project is similar to Russia's efforts to restore the population of the Persian leopard in the Caucasus.

Research has shown that the extinct local tiger sub-species is practicality genetically identical to Russia's Amur tiger, which will be used to restore the extinct population. In 2018, Kazakhstan opened a new nature reserve for the tiger in the southwestern Ili-Balkhash river stretching over 415,000 hectares (1 million acres). Efforts are underway to restore the riparian forest habitat bordering Lake Balkhash by introducing plants including cloned ones that were indigenous to the place in the past, fostering tiger prey species and protecting existing wildlife.