Sunday, February 17, 2008

Conservationists Plan Genetic Tiger Corridor Across Asia

Conservationists Plan Genetic Tiger Corridor Across Asia

NEW YORK, New York, February 13, 2008 (ENS) - The Wildlife
Conservation Society and the Panthera Foundation today announced
plans to establish a 5,000 mile-long "genetic corridor from Bhutan to
Burma" that would allow tiger populations to roam as freely across
landscapes as it is their nature to do.

The proposed corridor, first announced at the United Nations on
January 30, would span eight countries and represent the largest
block of tiger habitat left on Earth.

The corridor is a project of Tigers Forever, a collaboration between
Wildlife Conservation Society and the Panthera Foundation.

"Genetic corridors, where tigers can travel with less risk of
inbreeding, are crucial for their long-term survival in Asia," said
Dr. Alan Rabinowitz, director of science and exploration programs at
the Wildlife Conservation Society and co-director of Tigers Forever.

The proposed corridor includes extensive areas of Bhutan, northeast
India, Myanmar, Thailand and Malaysia, along with potential
connectivity to Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam.

Organizers say it has been endorsed by the new King of Bhutan, his
Majesty Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, who requested other heads of
state to support similar tiger conservation efforts.

At the UN meeting, 12 out of 13 tiger range states were represented
by ambassadors and delegates.

Many tiger conservation organizations were there - the National Fish
and Wildlife Foundation's Save the Tiger Fund, Conservation
International, Rare Conservation, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service. Actress Glenn Close was in attendance and spoke at the
event.

The meeting, hosted by UN Under-Secretary General Ambassador Joseph
Verner Reed of the United States, was opened with a welcoming
statement by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. It marks the first time
government, business, and conservationists have come together at the
United Nations for the sake of conserving a single species.

Rabinowitz says he "made a clear request at the recent UN meeting
that he and other tiger conservationists would be seeking additional
approval and assistance from other heads of state."

Corridors do not have to be pristine parkland, he said, but could
include agricultural areas, ranches, and other multi-use landscapes -
just as long as tigers could use them to travel between wilderness
areas.

"We're not asking countries to set aside new parks to make this
corridor a success," Rabinowitz said. "This is more about changing
regional zoning in tiger range states to allow tigers to move more
freely between areas of good habitat."

http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/feb2008/2008-02-13-03.asp
 



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