Wednesday, 24 November 2010
Battle on to save tiger from extinction
Right now the world is focusing on saving one of the great beasts of the jungle, the tiger, from the brink of extinction.
This week Russia is playing host to an international tiger summit, and Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio has pledged $1 million towards the cause. Wildlife activists and officials from 13 nations where tigers live in the wild arrived in St Petersburg this week at the invitation of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
The 13 countries where tigers still exist are Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia, Thailand and Vietnam.
Money raised by DiCaprio and WWF through Save Tigers Now will go to fund antipoaching efforts and habitat protection in the 12 priority landscapes across Asia that WWF believes represent the best locations to maintain viable, thriving populations of tigers. The money will also fund advocacy and outreach activities to build support for tiger conservation.
The summit’s four day goal is for attendees to put their political weight behind vocalising imminent threats, and best practice protection and population recovery methods. There are currently just 3200 tigers living outside captivity in each of the countries represented.
Australia Zoo conservation manager Giles Clark claims there is little hope of turning the tide on other critically endangered flora and fauna if the tiger cannot be brought back from the brink. Mr Clark, who heads to Sumatra next week as part of an ongoing Australia Zoo initiative, said he had confidence the summit was more than a “talk fest”.
He said the Tiger Protection and Conservation Unit in the heart of Sumatran tiger homeland Kerinci Seblat National Park had proved the damage of the past decade could be undone. Australia Zoo has donated $150,000 to the TPCU this year.
“They (tigers) have proven to be incredibly resourceful and can bounce back if they and their habitats are left alone,” Mr Clark said.