Indonesia to host crucial tiger meeting
World tiger experts and representatives from NGOs, the Global Tiger Initiative (GTI)/World Bank, and donor agencies such as USAID, AUSAID and GEF, will also attend. Held in Bali, the meeting is a prelude to the Heads of Government Tiger Summit, scheduled to be held in St. Petersburg, Russia from 15-18 September 2010.
The Bali meeting is expected to produce a draft Global Tiger Recovery Programme and a “Leaders Declaration” which will be discussed at the Tiger Summit in Russia. The Global Tiger Recovery Programme will be based on national plans developed by the TRCs. Indonesia’s Ministry of Forestry has, with the support of partners, developed the country’s National Tiger Recovery Programme.
“We hope the Bali meeting will generate a strong draft Global Tiger Recovery Programme,” said Ir. Darori, MM, Director General of Forest Protection and Nature Conservation for Indonesia’s Ministry of Forestry. “This will demonstrate our desire and resolve to come up with solutions to address the threats faced by the world’s remaining wild tiger population — including those faced by Indonesia’s Sumatran tiger — as well as double their population by 2022. We also hope we can map our partners’ commitments and financial support to protect this charismatic species.”
This pre-Tiger Summit meeting in Bali is a follow up to earlier governmental meetings on tiger conservation. The first in Kathmandu, Nepal in October 2009, recommended a series of 15 global actions that need to be taken to change the trajectory of tigers from extinction to recovery, as well as commitments from several tiger range countries. The Kathmandu meeting was followed by the first Asian ministerial conference on tiger conservation held in Hua Hin, Thailand in January 2010, and which adopted the goal of doubling the number of wild tigers by 2022, the next Year of the Tiger.
Tigers are in a dire situation. The global wild population is reduced to an estimated 3,200 individuals. From nine tiger sub-species, only six exist today — the Sumatran, Bengal, Amur, Indochinese, South China and Malayan tiger. Threats to the tiger include massive habitat fragmentation and destruction, loss of prey, poaching and illegal trade. Tigers are also lost due to retaliatory killing when they come into conflict with villagers living around tiger habitat.
With 400 Sumatran tigers left, or 12 percent of the global tiger population, Indonesia has a key role to play in the global tiger recovery programme.
The Sumatran tiger habitat has declined by 50 percent in the last 25 years. About 70 percent of the remaining habitat are located outside conservation areas, and in at least 20 patches of forests that are fragmented and isolated. This means that most of the remaining tiger population are not getting enough space to roam and also more highly exposed to threats.
”It is urgent for Indonesia to work together with other tiger range countries and partners, and to take concrete actions to save the Sumatran tiger, so that it will not go extinct as happened to the Bali and Javan tiger sub-species,” said Hariyo T. Wibisono, Chairman of Forum HarimauKita.
“Conserving the remaining forest habitat, restoration of critical areas, and land-use planning to support sustainable development – which will provide the Sumatran tiger with sufficient range while at the same time minimizing potential conflicts with humans — should be undertaken jointly by all government agencies and partners,” said Dr. Efransjah, WWF-Indonesia’s CEO. “These efforts are also in line with the Indonesian government’s commitment to reduce carbon emissions from deforestation and forest degradation as part of the global climate mitigation programme”.
”By saving tiger, we will save so much more,” said Darmawan Liswanto, Indonesian Programme Director of Fauna & Flora International. “A viable tiger population is a good indicator of a healthy forest. A healthy forest in Indonesia provides benefits and prosperity for millions of people in the surrounding area by supplying drinking water, food and medicine, and also contributes to mitigating global climate change and increasing knowledge of the world we live in.”
“The 13 Tiger Range Countries alone cannot implement the global tiger recovery programme,” said Dr. Noviar Andayani, Director of WCS Indonesia. “They need the support of other countries, especially those who are destination or transit points for the illegal tiger trade. This meeting is therefore very important and strategic in creating opportunities for developing and strengthening international partnerships in addressing the decline of the tiger population, in Indonesia and other range countries.”
”The role of the ordinary citizen in conserving the Sumatran tiger through education and awareness is also important, in addition to their support on conservation of tiger habitat in the wild from deforestation, encroachment, loss of prey, and illegal poaching,” said Tony Sumampaw of Taman Safari Indonesia. ”Zoos can also help by providing a medium for education, awareness, research and rescue of captured tigers to ensure they stay alive after coming into conflict with humans.”