Critical gaps need attention if wild tiger numbers are to double | WWF
Critical gaps need attention if wild tiger numbers are to double

Posted on 17 September 2014

The 2nd Stocktaking Conference of The Global Tiger Recovery Program (GTRP) closed today with tiger range governments agreeing that while progress had been made, critical areas of concern remained.
September 16th, Kuala Lumpur: The 2nd Stocktaking Conference of The Global Tiger Recovery Program (GTRP) closed today with tiger range governments agreeing that while progress had been made, critical areas of concern remained.

The Dhaka Conference brought together 140 tiger experts from over 20 countries and is the latest step in the process which began in 2010 at the “Tiger Summit” in St Petersburg, Russia. There tiger governments agreed to double wild tiger numbers by 2022, a goal known as Tx2.

“A lot has been achieved over the past four years but time is running out,” said Mike Baltzer, Leader, WWF Tigers Alive Initiative. “WWF congratulates the governments and partners on their active involvement in the Dhaka Conference but urges them to maintain this momentum so wild tigers survive for future generations.”

The conference was attended by the Honourable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and was hosted by the Government of Bangladesh, the Global Tiger Initiative and the Global Tiger Forum.

The Dhaka Recommendations set the priorities for the next two years and include the need to:

• increase investment and professionalise frontline wildlife protection staff so zero poaching can be achieved
• complete national tiger monitoring and assessment in all tiger habitats by 2016
• improve trans-boundary collaboration including intelligence sharing with focus on illegal tiger trade hot spots
• urgently assist in the development of the Global Support Program for demand reduction
• launch restoration in areas of low tiger density with the focus on Kazakhstan, Cambodia, and China
• expand the capacity to deal with human tiger conflict
• increase mapping, monitoring and surety of tiger habitat
• continue to seek increasing governmental budgets for tiger conservation
• further develop partnerships with business and industry
• continue to improve program implementation and coordination

“We are tremendously pleased that the governments agreed to carry out a comprehensive tiger census by
2016,” said Baltzer. “This will enable them to release a new wild tiger population figure at the halfway point of Tx2, which will be an indicator of success and direct investment and actions for the final six years.”

During an adjacent meeting of the Global Tiger Forum, the governments of Nepal and India together with WWF India and WWF Nepal released the results of the world’s first ever trans-boundary tiger survey. The report entitled “Tigers of the Trans-boundary Terai Arc Landscape” was carried out between November 2012 and June 2013, covers an area of around 5300 km2 and documents the movement of tigers between forests in India and Nepal based on camera trap data. A total of 239 individual adult tigers were identified from camera trap photos, of which 89 were adult males and 145 were adult females. The gender of five of the tigers could not be determined.

“The findings of the report are pertinent,” said Ravi Singh, WWF India Secretary General and CEO. “Wildlife populations and ecosystem functions are shared across political borders and collaborative action between the Governments of Nepal and India as well as the continued efforts of civil society in both countries, are crucial to the survival of the tiger and other large mammals in this region.”

“The Terai Arc Landscape exemplifies the importance of connectivity for wildlife such as tigers to thrive,” said Dr Ghana Gurung, Senior Conservation Program Director, WWF Nepal. “It underscores the need for countries to work beyond borders for common conservation goals.”

Tiger are endangered. The current wild tiger population estimate - as few as 3200 - was agreed in 2010. Since then poaching has reached critical levels and is the greatest threat to wild tigers today. Statistics from TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network, show that a minimum of 1590 tigers were seized between January 2000 and April 2014. That represents an average of two per week.

For more information please contact Alison Harley, WWF Tigers Alive Initiative, tel: +60 12 2807 402, e-mail: aharley@wwf.org.my
A young tiger captured by camera trap in Bukit Betabuh Protection Forest.
© WWF-Indonesia / Tiger Survey Team