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African swine fever is rampant in Asia. Half of its prey consists of wild boar. If his prey dies now, the world's largest cat will lack food.
Conflicts with people
If the natural prey disappears, hungry tigers could also come to the villages to tear farm animals. This in turn would lead to livestock farmers killing their predators, warn environmentalists.
Braking swine fever
The World Wide Fund for Nature therefore appeals to governments in China and Russia to take measures to prevent the spread of the disease. In the Russian province of Primorye, the authorities are clarifying the hunters to report dead wild boars.
Increased security measures
The WWF is now demanding that wild boar hunting and the transport of pork from China, where the disease is circumvented, to Russia can only take place under increased security measures.
Enlarge loot pool
The WWF is also working to enlarge the tiger's prey pool. Together with the Russian forest administration, he sets up winter feeding places for deer, and in China deer are bred under human care and then released into the wild as “tiger feed”.
The swine fever reaches the tiger area
By the end of October 2018, 53 epidemics had been reported in China, in 13 different provinces. That would not be dramatic for the tiger yet, but one case was in Heilongjiang, and this region borders directly on Primorje, where the tigers live.
A small number of documented cases does not mean the all-clear. The pathogen spreads rapidly, over large distances and even in remote areas. Infected wild boars are not responsible for this: they are sedentary and only spread the epidemic in a limited area. Rather, the culprit is uncontrolled transport of infected meat, sausages, animal feed and slaughterhouse waste, but also clothing and trucks to which the virus is attached.
Depends on meat
An adult Siberian tiger needs to consume ten kilograms of meat a day to replenish its energy in the cold climate. It eats red deer, wild boar, sika deer, deer, elk, even lynxes and bears - sometimes also cattle, horses or dogs.
The Siberian or Amurtiger is the largest of all six still living subspecies of the tiger, an adaptation to its cold habitat. In the past he lived from the Amur in the west to the Japanese Sea in the east. Today he lives only in an area of half of Germany in the border area between the extreme east of Russia and China. There are fewer than 500 animals.
Too little food
Logging takes away his habitat, but the loss of prey is essential for his decline. People in the far east of Russia hunt for their own use, as well as trophy hunters who shoot the crown deer.
Extermination for traditional Chinese medicine
The hunt for "medicines" by the TCM is also a problem for the last tigers on the Amur. The profit is immense with tiger bones, tiger penises and tiger meat, which play a major role in Chinese superstition. Corrupt Siberian politicians often play along and let poachers slaughter the tigers for a fee.
Poaching and illegal logging shake hands: The logging not only reduces the habitat of the tiger, which avoids the open areas, it also deprives the wild boar of their main food, the seeds of the Korean pine. The streets for the lumberjacks become highways for the poachers.
An additional threat
The swine fever does not come alone. If it spread, it would be an additional danger to the last, endangered, tigers of Siberia. (Dr. Utz Anhalt)