NEW YORK (November 16, 2016) – WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society) applauds the statements made on November 4th by the General Director of National Development and Reform Commission, Mr. Xu Shaoshi, indicating that the SangJiangYuan National Park pilot program has been initiated while a second pilot—the Amur Tiger and Amur Leopard National Park program—is in the approval process.

 The following statement was made by Dr. John Robinson, Executive Vice President of Conservation and Science at WCS:

"The Chinese government should be praised for the progress made on its bold national park initiatives intended to manage China’s natural resources and maintain healthy ecosystems for its wildlife— including iconic Amur leopards and Amur tigers.

“There is reason for great hope that over the next three to five years, these national parks, and other pilot projects will give rise to new models for protected areas that will sustain human co-existence with nature.

“The Amur Tiger and Amur Leopard Park will reportedly exist mainly in the YanBian state of Jilin province and Dongning city of HeiLongJiang province. WangQing County and HunChun City will form the central parts of the park.

“Creation of such a large reserve represents great vision and a first major step. As tigers are beginning to disperse into China from nearby Russia, this effort couldn't come at a better time for the species.

“WCS has worked in this northeastern China landscape since 1998, and long ago recognized that this region was the last chance to save wild tigers in China.

“Congratulations to China for having the foresight to make this commitment to conservation."