Amur tigers are some of the rarest residents of China; experts believe the country may shelter fewer than two dozen of the wild cats along its Russian border. But these majestic cats are also some of the most prized Chinese wildlife among the country’s impressive 580 species of mammals.
These and other species will be recognized as China celebrates protectors of wildlife through its fourth annual “Wildlife Guardian” competition this September. The China Wildlife Guardian Action Program empowers custom officials, forest police, border guards, community organizations and conservation professionals to halt poaching and the illegal wildlife trade—a growing problem in China. Amur tigers are especially vulnerable: their skins and bones fetch inflated prices in the marketplace.