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Last Stand for Wild Tigers?

tiger yawning photo.jpg

NGS stock photo by Michael Nichols

For four days starting this weekend, government leaders from the 13 tiger range countries will be meeting in St. Petersburg, Russia, to confirm a plan to restore and conserve one of the world’s most iconic big cats to its wild habitat.

Tiger Conservation Forum logo.jpgTeams from Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia, Thailand, and Vietnam will be the guests of Russia’s Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin, at the International Tiger Conservation Forum. It is said to be the first summit of world leaders to meet specifically to discuss the fate of a single species.

Most experts estimate only 3,200 tigers remain in the wild, and only a third of them may be breeding females. Viable breeding populations of tigers may no longer exist in some of the tiger range countries.

The tiger forum is expected to announce a strategy to double the number of tigers in the wild over the next 12 years.

tiger in India photo 2.jpg

NGS stock photo by Michael Nichols

Restoring and protecting tigers in the wild will require a Herculean effort on the part of the tiger range countries to provide effective protection of large tracts of wilderness that would sustain the cats–and finding an effective way to end or at least curb trafficking of wild tigers for their skins, bones, and other body parts.

Many commentators are saying that the summit is the last chance we have to save tigers in the wild. Others are skeptical that the meeting can produce meaningful results.

Tiger Forum News Roundup

Voice of America

Thailand Uses Technology, Rangers to Protect Wild Tigers

In the coming days, the 13 nations that are home to wild tigers will meet in Moscow (Nov. 21-24) to seek ways to protect the big cats. They will be looking at different programs, such as one that Thai officials hope will increase by half the number of tigers in the wild here within five years.

Yale Environment 360

As Tigers Near Extinction, A Last-Ditch Strategy Emerges

In the past century, populations of wild tigers have plummeted from 100,000 to 3,500. Now the World Bank and conservationists have launched an eleventh-hour effort to save this great predator, focusing on reining in the black market for tiger parts and ending the destruction of tiger habitat.

The Washington Post

If we save the tigers, we’ll save the planet

By Leonardo DiCaprio and Carter S. Roberts

Tigers have long provoked awe in the human imagination, becoming symbols of untamed nature whose “fearful symmetry,” in the words of William Blake, has inspired everything from art to advertising. In the wild, however, tigers are on the verge of disappearing.

The Guardian

One last chance: can we save the tiger?

There are only 3,200 left in the wild. So why are conservationists boycotting the world’s first tiger summit?

The Times of India

Global Tiger Forum to seek global focus

Breaking away from the notion of a India-centric body, the Global Tiger Forum will soon seek more responsiblity by helping out tiger range countries in tiger recovery and conservation plans.

tiger in India photo 3.jpg

NGS stock photo by Michael Nichols

More About Tigers From Nat Geo News Watch

A Thousand Tigers Dismembered for Skin-and-bones Trade

Parts of at least 1,069 tigers have been seized in tiger range countries over the past decade, according to an analysis of tiger seizures released today by TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network.

America’s 5,000 Backyard Tigers a ‘Ticking Time Bomb’

With more tigers in captivity in the U.S. than survive in the wild, the United States needs a centralized federal database to monitor the big cats, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) says.

World Tiger Day 2010

Joseph Smith, Tiger Program Director for Panthera, a charity dedicated to restoration and conservation of the world’s 36 species of wild cats, answers questions about the challenges facing tigers.

A Last Stand for Tigers?

With the number of wild tigers at an all-time low, a study warns that unless conservation managers redouble funds and efforts to protect tigers in the few places they can still thrive, we may lose the world’s largest cat.

China and Russia Declare International Sanctuary for Siberian Tigers

Jilin province of China and neighboring Primorsky province in Russia have agreed to collaborate formally in working towards the first transboundary Amur tiger protected area.

World’s Largest Tiger Reserve Designated in Myanmar

A region the size of the U.S. state of Vermont has been earmarked by Myanmar as a sanctuary for the tiger, one of the most endangered animals on the planet. But can the poaching of the big cats and their prey be stopped?

World Bank Invests in Tiger’s Future

World Bank Group President Robert Zoellick unveiled Vanishing Icons–a new National Geographic exhibition of photographs of tigers, lions, and other big cats–at the bank’s Washington, D.C. headquarters.

Read more about the plight of tigers and other big cats and what concerned people across the world are doing to help them on the National Geographic Big Cats Initiative website.   

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