The Siberian tiger's natural habitat is in Russia, where a deteriorating economy has put them in serious danger. Although hunting these rare big cats is strictly forbidden, poorly equipped and underpaid wildlife rangers are unable to do anything with about profit-minded poachers.
Locals living in poverty can get manifold their annual salary for just a single captured tiger, so it is no surprise that fewer and fewer tigers live in the area.
By today, the situation has become so dire that this subspecies of tigers is on the brink of extinction. WWF has been pursuing a major program to save these striped big cats in Russia since 1994.
Work began with training and equipping rangers who have acted effectively against illegal hunters ever since. In the last year alone, 800 poachers were caught in the act by these wildlife officials.
Yet the tiger conservation effort means much more than that. We have tightened cooperation with customs authorities to prevent the smuggling of products made from tigers, bags crafted from their fur, and supposed sexual stimulants made of their ground bones across international borders. A segregated emergency fund was created to avert any suddenly arising dangers.
Protected areas and national parks were established with local authorities in the interest of safeguarding tigers' natural habitats. Since, however, these tigers roam over extensive hunting grounds, it is impossible to declare their entire habitat protected. This is why it is particularly important to see to it that hunting and forestry practices in the future respect Siberian tigers, these special and endangered big cats.