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Tuesday
Sep162014

Dhaka conference concludes critical gaps need attention if wild Tiger numbers are to double

New figures from Malaysia reveal Tiger numbers there may have fallen, despite an international push to double the number in the wild © A Cambone / WWF-Canon Dhaka, Bangladesh 16th 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 if they are to achieve their goal of doubling the wild Tiger population by 2022, a goal known as Tx2.

However, new figures released yesterday in Malaysia revealed Tiger numbers there may be only 250 to 340 individuals, considerably lower than the previous estimate of 500; if confirmed they would be a considerable setback towards achieving the goal of 1,000 Tigers in Malaysia by 2022.

The Dhaka Conference brought together 140 tiger experts from over 20 countries and is the latest step in the Tx2 process which began in 2010 at the “Tiger Summit” in St Petersburg, Russia.

The Dhaka Recommendations set the priorities for the next two years and included the need to: increase investment and professionalize frontline wildlife protection staff; complete national Tiger monitoring and assessment of all Tiger habitats by 2016; restore areas with low Tiger density; and enhance capacity to deal with human Tiger conflict.

Tiger range countries also agreed on the need for urgent assistance with the development of a Global Support Programme to reduce the demand for Tiger products. TRAFFIC welcomed the meeting’s recommendation to conduct targeted and well-researched and designed programmes to reduce illicit demand for Tiger parts and for Tiger prey species.

“It is encouraging to see a new sense of urgency being attached by Tiger range countries to demand reduction efforts,” said Sabri Zain, TRAFFIC’s Director of Policy.

Earlier this year, the UK Government announced its backing for a TRAFFIC-led programme to reduce demand for Tiger parts ahead of the London Conference on Illegal Wildlife Trade where demand reduction was also on the agenda.

Dhaka delegates also agreed on the need for practical measures to enhance enforcement through transborder collaboration and intelligence sharing, focusing on hotspots in the illegal tiger trade. Analysis by TRAFFIC of Tiger part seizures has previously highlighted how hotspots in the illegal trade chain can be identified and offered to help countries wishing to undertake similar studies. TRAFFIC’s analysis found that a minimum of 1,590 Tigers had been seized in Tiger range countries between January 2000 and April 2014, an average of two per week.

The current wild Tiger population estimate – as few as 3200 - was agreed by Tiger range countries in 2010. Since then poaching has reached critical levels and is among the greatest threat to wild Tigers today.

The Dhaka 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.

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