12 Asian countries to jointly save the tiger
Monday December 10, 09:43 PM
New Delhi, Dec 10 (IANS) Concerned over the decline of tigers numbering just around 3,000 in the world, 12 Asian countries Monday came out with a joint action plan to save the majestic animal from extinction.
The 'Action Tiger' report, prepared by the seven-member inter-governmental Global Tiger Forum (GTF), was symbolically released by two forest guards from Rajasthan's Sariska Tiger Reserve at Hotel Samrat in the capital. It was the first report by the GTF, which also has Britain and two NGOs as members, since its inception in 1994.
The Sariska reserve had hit the headlines in 2005 for the disappearance of all its tigers.
The report is a compilation of National Tiger Action Plans (NTAPs) of 12 tiger range countries and contains comprehensive plans and strategies adopted for tiger conservation, including preservation of habitat, tackle poaching and prevent trade in wildlife body parts.
The 12 tiger range countries are Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia, Thailand and Vietnam.
The event was jointly organised by GTF, Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), which compiled and published the document.
Speaking on the occasion, GTF Secretary General S.C. Dey said: 'North Korea and Laos also want to be part of the forum. But North Korea has no proven record of existence of the animal. A small population might have migrated from Russia.'
'This important document will help conservationists, law makers, supporters and concerned parties to understand the different requirements of the tiger countries,' said Vivek Menon executive director of WTI.
Rajesh Gopal, member secretary of the tiger conservation authority, sounded hopeful, saying: 'In the last 23 years, tigers have made a comeback and are on the assured path of recovery.'
At present, India has around 1,500 tigers. The country has 36 tiger reserves, including eight opened recently, covering 37,000 sq km.
Menon said, 'The challenge now is to make sure the countries act before wild tigers are gone from the earth forever.'
'China is the only country where four of the five species of tigers are found. But pressures from poaching and habitat destruction have threatened their population,' Dey said.
Threat to tigers in the wild include poaching for skins, bones and derivatives, habitat loss, conflict with humans and reduction of their prey species.
'Tiger conservation has experienced many highs and lows. News such as the disappearance of Sariska's tigers have revealed shocking failures in conservation,' said Ashok Kumar, a trustee of WTI.
'Russia's commitment to saving the Siberian tiger by increasing fines for poaching from $50 to $20,000 provides some hope,' he said.
For The Tiger
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