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Monday, January 24, 2011

tiger countries to finalize major conservation measures in russia next month

The upcoming tiger summit in Russia is seen as a crucial meet which may determine the future of the big cats from total extinction

Finally, after two years of consultation among the Tiger Range Countries (TRC), Bhutan and 12 other countries have finalized a global program last week for restoring the disappearing population of tigers at the Consensus for Conservation meeting held in New Delhi, India.
The Global Tiger Recovery Program (GTRP) will be endorsed by the representatives of the 13 TRCs at the Tiger Summit, the first of its kind to be held at St. Petersburg, Russia, next month.
If it fails to be endorsed, conservationists say it will lead to the extinction of the tiger across much of Asia. This is the only hope for the big cats roaming across Asia.
The head of the Wildlife Conservation Division, Sonam Wangchuk, who will be attending the summit, said the summit will be a success. “There is no way the summit will fail because all the TRCs have come up with their programs and are ready to work toward it,” he said.
He said the summit will jointly declare the commitment to save the tiger.
The GTRP is supported by 13 parallel National Tiger Recovery Programs. According to the Global Tiger Initiative (GTI), the GTPR has a high probability of success because all 13 TRCs are working together with a high level of political commitment to implement a comprehensive program which will be supported and closely monitored by the global conservation community.
Bhutan’s tiger recovery and conservation program has four priority components.
1. Habitat and species conservation
Although Bhutan’s constitution mandates it to maintain 60% forest cover and about 51% of the country is within protected areas and biological corridors, surveys in the past decade indicated that a significant proportion of tigers roam about outside the protected areas and biological corridors.
Therefore, a revision of the corridor system is prioritized to include important tiger habitat outside the current park-corridor system. Parks should be zoned to identify core tiger habitats, and corridors should be clearly designated and identified to enforce rules and regulations that govern land-use and land-management.
2. Integrating tiger conservation and rural livelihoods
While people in Bhutan live in the protected areas and corridors, and use forest resources for everyday use and livelihoods, living within the tiger habitats has various opportunity costs like livestock depredation.
Therefore, compensation in the form of alternative income generation, insurance for depredation, conservation payments, etc. are prioritized to elicit support for biodiversity conservation and community stewardship.
3. Building institutional capacity
The current human resource capabilities are inadequate to carry out scientific conservation of key species of special concern.
Linkages among the different units of the Department of Forests and Park Services (DoFPS) are inadequate or non-existent, and no single unit has a clear mandate to coordinate the national park and wildlife protection services in the country.
These shortcomings are prioritized to be rectified for more effective conservation and protection of tigers and tiger habitats.
4. Sustainable Financing
Tiger conservation will be greatly expedited if sustainable fund is available. Therefore, a sustainable financing mechanism will be developed, incorporating innovative fund sources to allow for planning, implementing, and achieving ambitious and long-term conservation goals.
However, various challenges are foreseen. According to the WWF, tigers could be extinct within 12 years. In the last century, illegal hunting, a shrinking habitat and the trade of tiger parts used in oriental medicine had sent the number of the big cats worldwide plunging 97% to around just 3,200 tigers today.
New trends are also emerging challenging the conservation efforts. Recently, hidden camera footage in Indonesia revealed forest destruction for illegal palm oil plantations. In Singapore officials seized several tiger skins that were advertised for sale online. At the Panna Reserve in India, two young restocked tigers were found missing.
Back at home, the human conflict with the wild cats continues to be a concern. For example, last month, a tiger killed a man at Dorji goenpa in Trongsa.
Today, there are around 1,800 tigers in India, Nepal, Bhutan, and Bangladesh, 450 in Sumatra, 400 in Malaysia, 350 spread throughout Southeast Asia and around 450 in Russia. Bhutan has an estimated tiger population of 67-81 tigers. The 13 tiger range countries are: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia, Thailand, and Vietnam.

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