A Dozen Ways To Save The Tiger: A Blueprint
A Dozen Ways to Save the Tiger: Blueprint for conservation released by range states
Following recent reports that the world's wild tigers have dwindled to as few as 3,000, one dozen of the 14 countries with remaining wild tiger populations recently publisheda unified global "roadmap" to save the tiger from imminent extinction.
Vivek Menon, Director of the Wildlife Trust of India and tiger team leader for the International Fund for Animal Welfare (www.ifaw.org), welcomed the initiative: "Tigers are disappearing before our very eyes. The only solution is to tackle tiger conservation in a targeted and concerted way, as "Action Tiger" sets out, across all the nations where tigers still roam free."
"Action Tiger" contains the conservation plans of 12 tiger range countries and will be launched this afternoon by a forest guard from Sariska - the sanctuary which hit the headlines with the disappearance of all its tigers in 2005. The document, a compilation of the respective National Tiger Action Plans (NTAPs), contains comprehensive plans, strategies or blueprints of the tiger conservation measures to be taken by each country.
Mr Menon comments: "This important document will help conservationists, law makers, supporters and others concerned to understand the differing requirements of the tiger countries. Comprehensive plans exist, for the first time in one place. The challenge now is to make sure countries act now before wild tigers are gone from the earth forever."
The event was jointly organised by the Global Tiger Forum (GTF), the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), which compiled and published the document.
Fred O'Regan, President of IFAW, says: "The tiger is facing one of its worst periods of existence on this planet and it is pertinent that range countries put in all their efforts to saving this magnificent creature. Having these national action plans in one document will make it easier for conservation organisations around the world to understand the requirements of range countries - improving the chances of success in pulling tigers back from the brink of extinction."
Tiger conservation has experienced many highs and lows. While news such as the disappearance of Sariska's tigers have revealed shocking failures in conservation, other measures such as Russia's commitment to saving the Siberian tiger by increasing fines for poaching (from approximately US$50 to US$20,000) continue to provide some hope. Efforts to legalise the commercial farming of tigers for their parts were also defeated at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) meeting in June this year.
Ramparsad Sharma, who has worked as a forest guard in Sariska reserve since 1980, comments: "While the loss of our tigers resulted in many forest guards feeling very dejected, it remains my sincere hope that, through good park management and strict vigilance in park patrols, Sariska will one day see tigers return. I am proud to launch "Action Tiger" because it has the potential to stop similar tragedies befalling tiger sanctuaries across Asia."
Approximately 3,000 tigers of five sub-species are estimated to survive in the wild today and India is home to more than half. Threats to wild tigers include poaching for skins, bones and derivatives, habitat loss and fragmentation, conflict with humans and the reduction of prey species.