Friday, January 18, 2008

World Bank Contribution to Saving Tigers

Dear All,
Please find attached a description of the World Bank's plan for entering the business of wild tiger conservation.  As many of you know, the International Tiger Coalition has been encouraging the Bank for some time to become an honest broker in examining the threats to wild tigers posed by tiger farming.   Better than that, the Bank intends to look at the whole of the issue of saving wild tigers, with the aim of mainstreaming tiger conservation into Bank loans.  This is a very exciting turn of events, so I hope you will find time to look over the concept note.

10,000 Wild Tigers in 10 Years[1]:

The World Bank Contribution





Wild tigers once ranged across a wide arch spreading from Turkey in the West, through to Java in the East.  Today their habitats have shrunk by over 93 percent of the original range and the populations that remain are fragmented and in decline.  Within a century wild tiger populations have plummeted from over 100,000 to an 'effective population' of under 2,500 animals.[2],[3]  India, once judged the best hope for securing wild tigers, has seen its populations decline by about 50 percent within a decade.  Poaching has become so intense that entire populations have been eliminated from what were thought to be secure reserves.  Elsewhere wild tigers fare no better – intrusive structures and habitat degradation, coupled with the unrelenting poaching of tigers and their prey has brought the species to the edge of extinction.  At current trends wild tigers would likely be the first large predator to vanish in this century. 
There are economic, ecological and social reasons to be concerned about these dismal trends.  Perched at the apex of their habitats, tigers are an indicator species that serve as the warning lamps of the health of ecosystems.  Robust tiger populations nurture vital and life sustaining ecological services – such as soils, water, hydrological security and clean air all of which are needed to support and enhance economic activity and livelihoods.  Tigers are also at the center of a burgeoning eco-tourism industry and thus contribute to employment and regional development.  Of equal significance, they are cultural, national and religious icons in Asia –India and Malaysia's national animal is the tiger, the twelfth year of the Chinese calendar is dedicated to tigers and the tiger features on national flags and emblems across the region.
Recognizing the looming risks to wild tigers the World Bank, governments and the conservation community have invested considerable resources in their conservation - both explicitly, and as part of broader portfolio of biodiversity and NRM projects. World Bank projects include a series of forestry initiatives such as the Eco-development Project in India, the Kerinci-Seblat and Aceh Forest and Environment Projects in Indonesia, CEPF grants in Indonesia and India and for a global campaign to stop illegal tiger trade, Nam Theun 2 in Lao PDR[4], the Biodiversity and Protected Areas Management Project in Cambodia, the Vietnam Conservation Fund and Green Corridor project in Vietnam, and the Khabarovsky Kray tiger project in Russia funded by both the GEF and the Development Marketplace. 

[1]  This title became the goal of a group of tiger and conservation specialists and campaigners (including representation from the World Bank) who met in India in November 2007 for a "Tiger Emergency Think Tank" with the aim of catalyzing global concern and action to secure a future for wild tigers. 
[2] IUCN 2006. 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, viewed June 22, 2007. 
[3] Gratwicke,B, J. Seidensticker, M. Shrestha, K. Vermilye, M. Birnbaum 2006.  Staving off Extinction: A Decade of Investments to Save The World's Last Wild Tigers 1995-2004.  Save The Tiger Fund, Washington DC.  The effective population is the breeding population and is less than the actual numbers of wild tigers.  It indicates reproductive potential.

[4] Including a nationally-endorsed Cooperative Action Plan between four provinces in Vietnam and Lao PDR to control illegal transboundary hunting, trading and transporting of wild fauna and flora

With best regards,
Judy Mills
Save The Tiger Fund
Director, Campaign Against Tiger Trafficking (CATT)
1120 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Suite 900
Washington, DC  20036  USA
1-202-857-5160 Office
1-202-674-4588 Mobile

For the cats,

Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue
an Educational Sanctuary home
to more than 100 big cats
12802 Easy Street Tampa, FL  33625
813.493.4564 fax 885.4457

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