Push to save tigers leaps forward at Bali meeting
“While there’s still work to be done in the coming weeks, this has been a crucial meeting ahead of the Tiger Summit,” said Michael Baltzer, leader of WWF’s Tiger Programme. “These countries have worked together to lay down solid plans to double the number of tigers in the wild by 2022 – a critical goal to save this endangered animal.”
“These governments will now take these proposed commitments to St. Petersburg and world leaders will consider backing them with the political it will take to save tigers in the wild.”
“Coming to this meeting and agreeing to some key plans represents a strong indication that these 13 governments are ready to make commitments and be held accountable for their efforts to save tigers, and sets clear goals for how to do that.,” Baltzer said.
“The outcomes of this meeting will provide a foundation for success at the Tiger Summit in Russia.”
In Bali this week, tiger range governments presented individual national plans to protect tigers, that will be put into a Global Tiger Recovery Programme – essentially an overarching plan to double the number of tigers in the wild – which will then be approved at the Tiger Summit.
Overall, the 13 tiger range states’ national plans likely will cost more than USD 356 million for immediate implementation, according to their presentations this week.
“Now that these countries have shown their willingness to act, the success of any global plan launched in St. Petersburg will depend on financial support from the international community and the tiger nations themselves,” Baltzer said.
Governments also agreed to elements for a Leader’s Declaration, a document that will include joint commitments by the 13 tiger range states.
Calling the Tiger Summit “unprecedented,” the Declaration will include:
- An agreement that tigers are key to healthy ecosystems
- That tiger conservation efforts are primarily a national responsibility, but that “financial and technical support of the international community ” is still needed to save wild tigers
- That the 13 governments will collaborate on issues that affect tigers across borders, including ensuring the uninhibited movement of tigers and the management of joint tiger conservation areas
- Increasing enforcement efforts to eradicate poaching, the main driver of tiger loss, and to reduce the trafficking of tiger parts
- Identifying and better protecting key tiger habitats, such as critical breeding areas
- Improving protection efforts by implementing systematic patrols of tiger areas, and protecting their prey
“Hosting this meeting in Bali – where the Balinese tiger went extinct in the 1940s – is a symbol of Indonesia’s commitment to help with this global effort to protect tigers and bring them back from the brink of extinction,” said WWF Indonesia CEO Dr. Efransjah. “We commend Indonesia for its leadership at this meeting, and ask for the same level of commitment and passion leading up to and during the Tiger Summit.”
“We are committed to supporting these ongoing efforts and to working with the Indonesian government for the conservation of tigers.”
World tiger experts and representatives from other NGOs, including the Global Tiger Initiative, also are attending. The meeting is a prelude to the Heads of Government Tiger Summit, scheduled to be held in St. Petersburg, Russia from 15-18 Sept. 2010.
The Bali meeting 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 poaching and illegal trade, 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 an estimated 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.