Nov 26 2010

Update on the Tiger Summit

Bengal Tiger, via wikimedia commons

On October 25, I first wrote about an international summit to save the tiger.  That summit, the highest-level gathering ever held on behalf of a single species, has been completed, with some significant success.  The leaders of the 13 nations that make up the tiger’s range came to St. Petersburg to discuss measures that could be taken to bring the tiger back from the brink of extinction.  The most significant goal reached was for doubling the tiger population by 2022, a plan which was approved by Russia and China on Tuesday.  Tigers, which only have about 3,200 individuals in the wild and three subspecies that have already gone extinct, are threatened by habitat loss and poaching.  Both problems are very hard to stop police.  Pressure is also being placed on private actors such as Apple who uses the iconic animals on their software.  Below are more articles regarding this historical step toward saving the tiger.

Scientific American: “Russia, China Pledge to Save the Tigers”

ST PETERSBURG, Russia (Reuters) – Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on Tuesday agreed with other Asian nations to try to double the world’s wild tiger population by 2022 and save it from extinction.

Just 3,200 tigers now live in the wild, down from 100,000 a century ago, and those that remain face a losing battle with poachers who supply traders in India and China with tiger parts for traditional medicines and purported aphrodisiacs.

BBC: “Tiger summit aims to double numbers”

Governments of the 13 countries where tigers still live aim to agree moves that could double numbers of the endangered big cats within 12 years.

The International Tiger Conservation Forum in St Petersburg will discuss proposals on protecting habitat, tackling poaching, and finance.

About 3,000 tigers live in the wild – a 40% decline in a decade.

NY Times: “Meeting Aims to Turn Tiger Fascination into Conservation”

Ministers from several countries gathered Sunday in St. Petersburg at the invitation of Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin of Russia to begin a five-day meeting with the goal of protecting tigers. Only a little more than 3,000 are estimated to be living outside captivity.

Mr. Putin is so fond of the animals that he was given a cub for his 56th birthday.

But it is perhaps no accident that Mr. Putin has chosen to make an endangered feline the subject of the conference rather than a threatened canine — the wolf, for example, or the wild dog.

Scientific American: “Russia’s tiger forum: Our last chance to save tigers from extinction?”

Can the tiger be saved from extinction? That’s the goal of the International Forum on Tiger Conservation, a gathering of government leaders and conservationists in St. Petersburg, Russia, this week. Organized by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin of all people, the Tiger Forum will culminate in the signing of what is being called the St. Petersburg Declaration—an affirmation by the 13 countries with tiger populations to not only preserve their wild tigers, but to more than double their populations by the year 2022.Wildlife groups say that this really is a do or die moment for tigers. According to the World Wildlife Fund, tigers could be extinct in the wild by that same year of 2022 if dramatic steps are not taken immediately.

NY Times: “Saving Wild Tigers Cheaply, with Apple’s Help?”

12:04 p.m. | Updated A study just published in the journal PLos Biology, “Bringing the Tiger Back from the Brink — The Six Percent Solution,” lays out a smart strategy for stanching the decline of tigers in the wild driven by relentless poaching for skins and the Asian trade in extracts and body parts.

The take-home point is the cost. If even Bjorn Lomborg sees the merits of the world spending $100 billion a year to address global warming, is there anyone who can find a downside to raising a grand total of $35 million a year (beyond money already committed by national governments) to protect 42 “source sites” — areas of tiger territory with populations that are sufficiently healthy to repopulate neighboring regions with suitable, but tiger-less, habitat? (I propose one corporate money source below.)

NY Times (Dot Earth): “Wild Tigers on a Crowding Planet”

The first  International Tiger Conservation Forum has wrapped up in St. Petersburg, Russia. Dignitaries and participating organizations pledged new support for controls on poaching, efforts to limit tiger-human clashes in populous areas and steps to conserve habitat, with money coming both from the 13 countries where tigers still roam and nations whose citizens desire a world with room for wild tigers. (Money is coming from individuals, as well, including  $1 million from Leonardo DiCaprio, who was enthusiastically greeted by the meeting’s host, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.)

The challenge, as always, will be moving from pledges to concrete steps on the ground around remaining tiger populations and also in curbing illicit trade in tiger pelts, body parts and extracts said to hold medicinal properties, most of which end up in China.

Comments Off on Update on the Tiger Summit

Comments are closed at this time.