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China Parliamentary Sessions 2015

‘What do China’s Siberian tigers eat?’ asks curious President Xi Jinping

PUBLISHED : Monday, 09 March, 2015, 5:32pm
UPDATED : Monday, 09 March, 2015, 6:51pm

President Xi Jinping has revealed his curiosity about China’s wildlife, including Siberian tigers.

Xi asked a string of questions today, including: “How many Siberian tigers are there?, What do they eat?”, “Can their population expand? and “Do wild boars live in the Changbai Mountain?”, during a panel discussion with Jilin deputies at the annual political meetings.

He posed his questions after a delegate from the northeastern province praised the local area’s countryside, xinhuanet.com reports.

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The delegate said wild animals had returned and were thriving in the region thanks to the ecological efforts of local authorities,

Xi was told that there were now 27 Siberian tigers and more than 3,500 white cranes living in the wild in the province, reported xinhuanet.com.

He said the successful return of wildlife to the region was a pleasing phenomenon and urged officials to obey the laws of nature.

The food supply for Siberian tigers in northeastern provinces became a talking point online after a Siberian tiger, known as Kuzya, which had been released by Russian President Vladimir Putin, crossed a border river into China.

It stayed in Heilongjiang for two months before returning to Russia in December.

Experts said only about 450 Siberian tigers remain in the wild around the world.

Jilin is among China’s “grain barn” regions owing to its huge grain production.

During the panel discussion, Xi urged officials from the province not to think of marginalising agriculture at the moment, and instead to think of ways to overcome difficulties in the sector and maintain a strong output.

He also urged local officials to encourage business innovation, introduce more of a market economy and kick out manufacturers that were still adopting outdated technologies, in order to revive the northeast’s “rust belt” of decayed factories and industries in Liaoning, Jilin and Heilongjiang.