St Petersburg, Russia, 24th November 2010—Leaders from Tiger range countries have endorsed a Global Tiger Recovery Programme (GTRP) that aims to ensure a doubling of the world’s wild Tiger population by 2022.
Currently the estimated number of wild Tigers is around 3,200 animals, down from 100,000 a Century ago.
This is the first time such a high level meeting has taken place to save a single species, one that is under threat from ever-diminishing habitats but also faces an even more imminent threat—that of poaching and trafficking of its parts.
Demand for the parts is fuelling the poaching of Tigers, especially in South-East Asia and India.
Yesterday, Steven Broad, Executive Director of TRAFFIC, addressed the Tiger Forum during an agenda item on illegal trade. He focused on the results of a recent TRAFFIC investigation, which found that parts of at least 1,069 Tigers had been illegally trafficked over a decade in 11 of the Tiger range countries.
Key to the GTRP’s success in addressing illegal tiger trade will be the effectiveness of enforcement efforts by the Tiger range countries, as well as close regional and international co-operation on these efforts. The Tiger Forum highlighted strengthened regional law enforcement activities to combat illegal tiger trade through bilateral and multilateral arrangements, including the ASEAN-WEN (ASEAN Wildlife Enforcement Network), SAWEN (South Asia Wildlife Enforcement Network) and bilateral protocols between key Tiger range countries.
John Scanlon, Secretary-General of CITES, also announced the formal creation of a new consortium to fight wildlife smuggling. The International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC, pronounced ‘eye-quick’) comprises five member organizations: CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), INTERPOL, UNODC (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime), the World Bank and WCO (World Customs Organization).
Scanlon said the goal of ICCWC was “to introduce a new era to wildlife law enforcement by drawing upon the complementary skills of the Consortium.”
The cost of implementing the GTRP is an estimated USD350 million. Several governments and organizations have already announced commitments of significant sums towards Tiger conservation at the Forum, including:
WWF’s Director Jim Leape said his organization aims to mobilize USD85 million over the next five years. The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) has committed USD50 million over the next decade, while the US Government will allocate an additional USD 9.2 million to tiger conservation to combat illegal poaching and trafficking, the German Government will allocate an additional USD 17.2 million for tiger landscape conservation in Russia, Thailand, Laos, and Viet Nam and the World Bank USD100 million in a loan package to three tiger range countries. Yesterday, actor Leonardo DiCaprio announced a USD1 million donation to support WWF’s efforts to protect wild Tigers.