Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has offered to share his country's growing tiger population with other countries to help save the big wild cat from extinction.

“Tiger families from Russia could start the process of reviving tiger populations where they have completely disappeared, in such countries as Kazakhstan and Iran,” said Mr. Putin, addressing the “Tiger Summit” in St. Petersburg on Tuesday.

Stressing the importance of saving the tiger, Mr. Putin said: “The great humanist Mahatma Gandhi once said: ‘A country that is good for the tiger is good for everybody. This is very sharp and deep thought.”

He recalled his country's successes in restoring the tiger population. “Over the past 60 years the number of Amur tigers, whose habitat is almost exclusively in Russia, has increased more than 10 times over and today amounts to about 500,” whereas across the world the tiger population has shrunk by 97 per cent.

Mr. Putin expressed confidence that the Global Tiger Recovery Programme adopted at the St. Petersburg summit would enhance inter-state coordination and concentration of financial, organisational and technical resources to reverse the decline in the tiger population.

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