Saving tigers needs more global money
By ASHOK SHARMA, Associated Press WriterMon Dec 10, 5:54 PM ET
Saving the world's remaining tigers will require as much as $500 million a year, but average annual international funding only comes to $5 million, a conservation group said Monday.
Most of this was given to non-governmental organizations, while governments of 12 countries with tiger populations were expected to come up with funding themselves, S. C. Dey, secretary-general of Global Tiger Forum, told reporters.
While Russia and India get up to 20 percent of money they spend annually on tiger conservation from international funding, for other countries it was as low as 1 percent, Dey said after the release of action plans for 12 countries with wild tiger populations.
"As the world's wild tigers have dwindled to as few as 3,000, it is time for a concerted effort to save the big cat from extinction," a Wildlife Trust of India statement said.
Fred O' Regan, president of the International Fund for Animal Welfare, said the tiger was facing one of the worst periods of its existence.
"Having these national action plans in one document will make it easier for conservation organizations around the world to understand the requirements of range countries," he said in a statement.
The 12 countries where tigers live in the wild are Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia, Thailand and Vietnam.
While Nepal and Bhutan did not require much international funding, countries like Russia, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia each need up to $20 million annually for their efforts to save the tiger, Dey said.
India alone needs $200 million to relocate thousands of people from the vicinity of tiger reserves, Dey said.
"China has been demanding compensation for stopping commercial farming of tigers for their parts," he said. Tiger parts are prized in traditional Chinese medicine.
In India, the wild tiger population is roughly half of what it was estimated to be five years ago, a government study has found.
India's tiger population may be in the range of 1,300-1,500, according to a survey by the Wildlife Institute of India. The institute's last study, in 2001-2002, estimated 3,642 tigers were left in India's jungles and reserves.
Wildlife experts have long warned that poaching and encroachment on the big cats' habitat has savaged their population, which a century ago was believed to number in the tens of thousands.
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