NEW YORK (February 17, 2010) – The Wildlife
Conservation Society (WCS) released a “report card” today for wild
tigers in Asia revealing how these iconic big cats are faring in eight key
landscapes spanning nine countries.
The report shows that
while tigers are in dire trouble in some areas, there are still strongholds
containing robust populations in others, and opportunities to grow tiger
populations in landscapes where conservation efforts are taking hold. The
report card is a result of “Tigers Forever,” a collaborative
initiative between WCS and Panthera – a wild cat conservation group.
The report card looks at
key threats to tigers and monitors success at eight priority landscapes where
WCS and Panthera work across Asia. The selected landscapes represent a sample
of major ecological types across the tiger's range and were chosen based on
scientific assessment of tiger ecology, levels of threat, opportunity for
recovery, and long-term security of tiger populations.
“In this Year of
the Tiger, the best way we can celebrate these iconic big cats is by giving
them a future,” said Wildlife Conservation Society President and CEO
Steven E. Sanderson. “Each landscape where WCS works presents a unique set
of challenges for conservationists, but all are bound by a common vision: to
restore tiger numbers wherever possible throughout their range.”
The report gives each of
the landscapes a color rating. Green means the prospect for tigers is good with
populations stable or increasing and conservation efforts succeeding. Yellow
means prospects for tigers are fair with numbers stable but increasingly
threatened by significant conservation challenges. Red means tiger numbers are
in decline with major threats growing which, if not addressed, will continue to
drive tiger numbers down.
Two of the eight landscapes
received a green rating: India's Western Ghats region and Thailand's Western
Forest Complex; five received a yellow rating: the transboundary region between
Russia and China, Indonesia's Gunung Leuser landscape, Myanmar's Hukaung
Valley, Malaysia's Endau-Rompin Landscape, and Laos's Nam Et-Phou Louey
landscape. Only Cambodia's Eastern Plains, where perhaps 10 tigers remain,
received a red rating.
Dr. Alan Rabinowitz,
President and CEO of Panthera, said, “While the situation with wild
tigers is dire, the good news is that we know what is needed to reverse it.
Tigers Forever is an effective model that shows us that we can bring tigers
back – and we already are at specific sites across the tiger’s
The Tigers Forever
strategy is to ensure total protection of the core areas where significant
tiger populations still occur; recovery from those source sites will then expand
across larger landscapes.
The world's remaining
tigers are threatened by poaching, habitat loss and fragmentation, and conflict
with humans. There may be as few as 3,000 wild tigers left in the world today,
with roughly half of those living in India.
Along with its field
conservation programs, WCS is working to combat these threats on a policy
level by engaging the international community, national governments including
the U.S. government, and tiger range states through various avenues such as the
Coalition Against Wildlife Trafficking (CAWT) and the Convention on the
International Trade of Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES). WCS is
also working to pass in the U.S. Congress H.R. 1454, the Multinational Species
Conservation Funds Semi-postal Stamp Act, a key tiger friendly legislation that
would generate private funding for tigers and other wildlife through the sale
of wildlife postal stamps. Our efforts also include strengthening U.S.
Government support for tiger conservation through increases in the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service Rhino-Tiger Conservation Fund in Fiscal Year 2011.
WCS will be holding its
2nd Annual Run for the Wild at the Bronx Zoo in New York on Saturday, April 24,
2010 to help save tigers. Pledges and donations will provide much needed support
for WCS field staff working to ensure a future for these endangered great cats.
For more information on how to make tracks for tigers, visit www.wcsrunforthewild.org.
WCS's Tiger Program and
activities at WCS tiger sites are supported by contributions from many donors
but particularly Panthera, The Liz Claiborne and Art Ortenberg Foundation, the
Save the Tiger Fund of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the Rhino
Tiger Conservation Fund of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Forest
Service International Program-Russian Far East Conservation, the Putexent
Center of the U.S. Geological Survey, 21st Century Tiger, the Homeland
Foundation, the Blue Moon Fund, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur
Foundation and the World Bank GEF Tiger Futures project.
Stephen Sautner: (1-718-220-3682; email@example.com) John Delaney: (1-718-220-3275; firstname.lastname@example.org)
saves wildlife and wild places worldwide. We do so through science,
global conservation, education and the management of the world's largest system
of urban wildlife parks, led by the flagship Bronx Zoo. Together these
activities change attitudes towards nature and help people imagine wildlife and
humans living in harmony. WCS is committed to this mission because it is
essential to the integrity of life on Earth. Visit: www.wcs.org
Panthera is the world’s leading
conservation organization devoted exclusively to the protection of wild cats. Utilizing the knowledge and expertise of
the world’s top cat biologists, Panthera develops, implements, and
oversees range-wide species conservation strategies for the world’s
largest, most imperiled cats – tigers, lions, jaguars and snow leopards.
By working through partnerships with local and international NGO’s,
scientific institutions, and local and national government agencies,
Special Note to the Media: If you would like to guide
your readers or viewers to a web link where they can make donations in support
of helping save wildlife and wild places, please direct them to: www.wcs.org/donation