Amur Heilong | WWF
© WWF-Russia

Amur Heilong

The biggest of the big cats - Amur tigers - reside in the rugged Amur-Heilong landscape
that straddles between northeastern China and the Russian Far East.
They have adapted to life on snowy terrains where the temperature can drop to as low as -40°C.

In this region lies one of the most biologically diverse temperate forests of the world. The longest undammed river in the Eastern Hemisphere flows through this area and it harbours a variety of other fascinating wildlife beyond tigers, such as the Pallas’ cat, red-crowned cranes, and the critically endangered Amur leopard. 

As a result of protection and innovative partnerships with local communities tiger numbers are increasing in the Russian Far East and dispersing into adjacent areas of China. The recent creation of the 16,000-km2 Northeast China Amur Tiger and Leopard National Park in China, one of the largest protected areas in Asia, provides significant opportunities for further tiger recovery and population growth.

While improved wildlife crime technology and increased patrolling have seen results, there is still great concern over the poaching of endangered big cats and unsustainable hunting, which will result in the lack of a sufficient prey base. This can lead to wild tigers venturing into human settlements to look for food.

WWF’s work on recovering tiger prey species through supplementary feeding during the harshest weeks of winter and working with hunting associations to set hunting quotas. Two special response teams are set up in collaboration with local partners to rehabilitate tigers that came into conflict with people and for a possible eventual release far away from the villagers.

This is a vast and fragile landscape that is also facing pressure from a dense human population in northeastern China. Consequently, one of the bigger challenges is to balance economic development and sustainable land use. From facilitating responsible forestry practices among companies, monitoring threats posed by proposed dams, to the establishment of officially protected areas, our conservation work will go into long-term protection of tigers and local livelihoods.