Towards Zero Poaching of Tigers
Zero Poaching is more than a slogan; it is a target that we have to aim our efforts towards as a vital and urgent part of the redoubling of our efforts to bring the tiger back.
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Working Towards Zero Poaching of Tigers and their Prey
The key to this is immediate action from the Tiger Country Governments to secure these heartlands with well trained and managed, motivated and resourced field staff in each of the sites supporting these critical populations. Each government must open their budgets and free funds to ensure this first step.. Where funds are not available, alternative sources must be found immediately.
The declaration to make core tiger areas with breeding habitats fully protected from human interference (inviolate is the term used) was voiced at the 2010 International “Tiger Summit”. Stopping poaching is the first step, and our task now is to see that the declaration is fulfilled.
We can only reverse the tiger’s rapid decline if we make an immediate stand in its heartlands – the landscapes where tigers live and breed— Tigers Alive (@TigersAlive) January 14, 2012
Doubling the Number of tigers in the wild
One year ago, at the historical summit in St. Petersburg, Russia, global leaders declared they will work together to double the number of wild tigers by 2022. This was a visionary and ambitious statement of intent from the leaders and precisely what was required to turn the tide forever for the tiger.
The leaders recognized that to achieve this goal, we all had to come together and act with robustness and certainty. “Business-as-usual” is no longer an option for the tiger’s survival. This new ambitious shared goal, measuring the very peak of what can be achieved in twelve years, had to be the bar set for the species. The goal means that we no longer are talking about simply saving the tiger from extinction but putting it strongly back on a course for recovery. We must dig deeper than we ever have if we want to scale the peak of this momentous achievement.
Lifting the population from less than 3,200 individuals left in the wild to more than 6,000 in 12 years cannot be done without a coordinated, elevated and strategic effort. The Summit was the launch. Now we must move to engagement.
Keeping the Tiger’s heart beating
While the habitat for the tiger has shrunk to 7% of what was once available to the species, the tiger has become restricted to a very few pockets within the remaining habitat.
Restoring tiger populations to the remaining unpopulated areas of the landscapes is vital to doubling the number of tigers.. Holding on to these landscapes is therefore key to the strategy. Once lost, vital corridors linking habitats together will be almost impossible to recover. This will require immediate separate attention and is never easy. But if we lose the last breeding tigers in the landscape, there is very little hope for their restoration, even if we hold on to the landscapes and the vital corridors.
These last remaining breeding populations are like the beating heart of the tiger recovery plan. When the heart stops beating, there will be no wild tigers left for recovery.
Without the tiger heartlands pumping out tigers to the wider landscape, recovery will be impossible. End poaching of tigers and their prey, and the heart stays healthy.
Image Gallery: Patrolling the frontlines for tigers
The valiant efforts of the field staff, officials and communities on the frontlines of tiger conservation, working every day to protect the tiger and its habitat, are to be commended. Yet those efforts are being undermined by poachers, who are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their efforts to kill tigers.
Highly motivated, well trained and well resourced field staff are the key to Zero Poaching of tigers— Tigers Alive (@TigersAlive) January 14, 2012
The most important and relatively simple step towards Zero Poaching is to increase the number of field staff working in the core areas, ensure that they are well-managed and resourced and ensure that they are given respect and motivation on a daily basis to continue to take the lead in tiger population recovery.
More than one year from the St. Petersburg Summit, we cannot waste a minute to better protect the tiger’s heartlands. Summit participants and tiger supporters around the world have demonstrated the will. We must light the way.
We must redouble our efforts in 2012 to stop the tiger and endangered species trade moourl.com/q9o0e— Tigers Alive (@TigersAlive) January 3, 2012
Launching a joint Operation Zero Poaching at the Summit follow-up meeting
Early in 2012, the Tiger Countries and partners will meet to look back on progress since the Summit and plan for the next year. It is vital to the success of the partnership and to the recovery of the tiger that a specific joint action is launched immediately to:
- Identify the initial “critical tiger breeding habitats” to be made free from poaching (on the path to being fully inviolate)
- Identify and put in place the resources to end poaching at these sites, including more effective and motivated field staff
- Commit the funds now and for the foreseeable future to protect the sites
- Monitor and report on the progress towards Zero Poaching, including Law Enforcement Monitoring and management of core sites
- Design further action to halt poaching outside of the core areas.
If the tiger heartlands are left unprotected until the governments report back in 2013, there will be no hope of reaching the goal the Summit participants declared in 2010.
Zero Poaching is the way forward, and action must start now. We can achieve tiger recovery, and double their numbers if we double our efforts, and work together.