Boom in rare tiger cubs hailed in China

Nov. 19, 2012 at 7:10 PM

HARBIN, China, Nov. 19 (UPI) -- In encouraging news for one of the world's rarest species, conservationists report the birth of 91 Siberian tiger cubs in an artificial breeding park in China.

With the births there are now 1,067 Siberian tigers in the Siberian Tiger Park in the suburbs of Harbin, the capital of Heilongjiang Province, Liu Dan, chief engineer at the park, said.

Also known as "China Hengdaohezi Feline Breeding Center," the park was established in 1986 with eight Siberian tigers, China's state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

It began to use DNA tests to prevent "intermarriage" among Siberian tigers to maintain genetic diversity in 2001.

Also known as Amur or Manchurian tigers, Siberian tigers mainly live in east Russia, northeast China and the northern part of the Korean Peninsula.

Some 500 of the animals currently live in the wild, conservationists said.

Twenty of the 91 cubs born at the breeding center will be selected for artificial breeding to ensure the quality of the species, Liu said.

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