Chinese volunteers have founded a website to promote public involvement in protecting tigers, especially endangered wild tigers.
The site (www.ilaohu.org, which stands for "love tigers") has news, opinions, multimedia information about tigers and a forum where people can discuss tiger-related topics.
The forum is still seeking approval from relevant organizations and will be launched soon, according to a notice on the site.
"Scientists compare large-scale carnivores like tigers to a ruler that measures the health of the ecological system. To save the wild tiger is much more than saving a species; it is to save the ecological system for human beings," said Ge Rui, a senior official with the International Fund for Animal Welfare.
Statistics show that the number of wild tigers has fallen to less than 3,000 worldwide. In China, there are less than 50 wild tigers, among which the number of Manchurian Tigers stands at less than 20.
In the last century, three out of eight tiger sub-species became extinct, and the habitat of wild tigers has shrunk to 7 percent of its original size.
"The protection of tigers requires joint efforts from governments, wildlife protection organizations and all Chinese people," said Xie Yan, a researcher at the Institute of Zoology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
(Xinhua News Agency January 29, 2008)