World's tigers 'on edge of extinction'
29/10/2009 - 13:51:33
The world’s tiger population is on the verge of extinction, Nepal’s forest secretary has warned a conference of experts.
Delegates from 20 countries, including 13 where tigers are still found in the wild, are discussing strategies for conservation of the animal as well as challenges such as poaching, illegal trade in tiger parts and man-animal conflicts.
Yuvaraj Bhusal, secretary of forest and soil conservation, said: “We are assembled here to save tigers that are on the verge of extinction,” adding that participants are aiming to make policy makers in the top ranks of their respective governments aware of the tiger’s flagging status.
Delegates attending the meet in the capital Kathmandu include representatives from the World Bank and the World Wildlife Fund.
The country’s prime minister Madhav Kumar Nepal blamed poaching and the loss of habitat as primary threats to the world’s tiger population.
“Despite our efforts in the last three decades, tigers still face threats of survival. The primary threat is from poaching and habitat loss,” Mr Nepal said.
“Global and regional solidarity and corrective measures are more necessary now than ever to face these challenges,” he added.
The tiger population has fallen from more than about 100,000 at the start of the 20th century to an estimated 3,500 to 4,000 in recent years.
Wild tigers are still found in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Burma, Nepal, Russia, Thailand and Vietnam.