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JILIN, July 28, Chinadaily -- During two Congresses this year, secretary-general of the Communist Party of China Xi Jinping joined the Jilin delegation in its deliberations. When a delegate talked about the significant improvement of the eco-environment in Jilin and the return of wild animals, Xi asked: "How many wild Amur tigers do we have now? What do they eat? Can the community continue? Are boars living in the Changbai Mountains?"

Learning that Jilin now had 27 Amur tigers, more than 3,500 white cranes and a significantly growing number of wild animals, Xi was happy, and stressed: "Good eco-environment is the advantage of Jilin. Water and mountains are great resources. Jilin must preserve them and keep cultivating new development advantages".

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Return of the King.

Jilin has tigers and leopards in the east, sika deer in the center and white cranes to the west. It has 41 natural reserves of all kinds, and national natural reserves of big animals of the family Felidae alone reach five in number. Amur leopards, as the rarest of the big cat family, keep growing in Jilin which is also home to 27 Amur tigers and 42 leopards, a significant achievement in terms of the protection of wildlife relative to the situation at the close of the last century - having only six tigers and three leopards.

Take Jilin Momoge National Nature Reserve for example, as many as 3,809 white cranes were monitored in 2012, accounting for more than 90 percent of the world population of such species. Other species such as like Siberian chevrotains or mouse-deer, sika deer, black bears and boars grow significantly in number too.

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Wild geese in western Jilin.

"Jilin will make greater efforts for ecological protection," Lan Hongliang, director-general of the Forestry Department of Jilin Province said. "Jilin has issued a ban on all lumbering activities for commercial purposes in state-owned forest regions to protect the habitats of endangered species such as wild Amur tigers and leopards. It will build at least three new natural reserves for tigers."

Jilin has made multidimensional efforts to protect wildlife, such as setting up infrared high-definition photographic and image pick-up devices to monitor wildlife; strengthening the protection of Amur tigers and leopards along the border between China and Russia to ensure free migration of big wild animals and working with Chinese frontier guards in natural reserves close to the border.

Strictly cracking down upon poaching is another priority of the work of wildlife protection in Jilin.

Xie Zhongyan, director of the Changbai Mountains Management Committee, said: "The reserve has 'zero tolerance' against poaching, and will strictly punish poachers".

Yu Changchun, division chief of the Forestry Department of Jilin province, said: "The introduction of the ban on hunting, the system against poaching and that for compensating damaged wild animals by the government has greatly intensified public awareness of protecting wild animals".

Since last June, the Changbai Mountains Management Committee has dismantled all buildings in the reserve, "It was hard. The costs of land requisition and demolition alone exceeded more than 4 billion yuan," said Xie, "but it pays off. Tourists can find sika deer, black bears, Amur tigers, Amur leopards among other wild animals in the reserve".

In February, Jilin passed a law and decided to resettle more than 800 residents living in the Xianghai National Natural Reserve, making a compromise for rare birds to live and reproduce in the habitat and solving the problem of "men and birds struggling for land" once and for all.

After eco-migration is carried out, more than 3,600 hectares of farmland will return to nature.

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Red-crowned cranes dance in Xianghai, Jilin.

Xianghai natural reserve in western Jilin province covers an area of more than 100,000 hectares and is home to many birds under state-level protection such as red-crowned cranes and white cranes. As the local environment has improved the population of red-crowned cranes has grown from 70 in 2009 to more than 130 today. Nearly 1,000 white cranes were counted there last spring.

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