Actions will focus on protecting the tiger’s habitat, addressing poaching, illegal trade and providing the financial resources for this emergency plan.
Over the last century, tiger numbers have plummeted from about 100,000 to less than 3,500 tigers in the wild today. Three sub-species of tigers have already completely disappeared and the fate of the other six is at stake. The last decade alone has seen a decline of almost 40 per cent in tiger numbers and habitat as a result of human-made threats, such as, in particular, habitat loss, illegal wildlife trade and poaching and human–tiger conflicts.
Executive Secretary, Elizabeth Maruma Mrema of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) Secretariat stressed: “Safeguarding international migration corridors and trans-border habitats will be crucial for global efforts to save the tiger. The Convention on Migratory Species is unique in that it can provide a framework to protect not only the animal, but also its habitat.”
Global Tiger Recovery Program
In order to stop its devastating decline, the 13 countries have agreed to strengthen international collaboration to protect the majestic Asian wild cat.
Scientific monitoring will be improved to help restore the species’ habitats and its trans-boundary corridors. Halting poaching and illegal trade of tigers and tiger products is a core component of the conservation strategy.
Creating incentives for local people to protect tigers and strengthening wildlife law enforcement and legislation will be vital to achieve the ambitious St. Petersburg targets. It is hoped that conflicts occurring between tigers and local communities will be reduced by involving local people more actively in biodiversity protection.
The Tiger has played a very important role in Asian nature and culture for centuries. Almost half of the world’s population --3.3 billion people-- live in the countries of the tiger’s distribution range in Asia. Therefore immediate and effective steps are necessary to create an economic and ecological balance matching the interests of these states towards a safe future for the tiger.
Tigers being on top of the food chain have an important umbrella function to maintain the biodiversity of its habitat. As such they maintain the biodiversity of the region, contribute to a healthy ecosystem and generate tourist revenue for economies through tiger watching and safaris.
The Terai Arc Landscape between India and Nepal shows how conservation efforts to save the tiger have also resulted in increased benefits for the endangered rhino and other animals in the region. The ecosystems in these countries support tigers, their prey and a vast amount of biodiversity. Any efforts to conserve the tiger as an umbrella species will also ensure that the rich biodiversity of these areas is protected.
Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia, Thailand and Vietnam are the tiger range countries that have committed towards implementing the Global Tiger Recovery Program.
“This concerted effort is not only a vital part of maintaining biodiversity and key environmental services. People will also benefit from improved access to these resources. The Convention on Migratory Species stands ready to give whatever help it can to assist global efforts to save tigers in the wild,” said CMS Ambassador Stanley Johnson at the Tiger Summit.
The St. Petersburg Declaration
The Global Tiger Recovery Program, which is the strategic plan envisaged by the St. Petersburg Declaration, has been adopted by countries and a roadmap for post-summit action is also being discussed. Deliberations regarding the development of an institutional structure to implement the aims and objectives of the Declaration and its Recovery Program are also underway.
The objectives of the St. Petersburg Declaration, which acknowledges the role of the CMS and other biodiversity-related conventions such as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), include exploring new financing mechanisms under the United Nations Collaborative initiative on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) in developing and emerging countries.
The Tiger Summit hosted by the Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and the President of the World Bank, Robert Zoellick, from 21-24 November in St. Petersburg, Russia, is the result of years of efforts by the Global Tiger Initiative (GTI). In a last-ditch effort to save the tiger, the World Bank together with the GTI, an alliance of governments, international agencies and civil society, the scientific community, UN agencies and NGOs have contributed to improving global biodiversity management practices through better conservation of wild tigers and their habitats.
Notes to Editors:
The Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (UNEP/CMS), also known as the Bonn Convention, works for the conservation of a wide array of endangered migratory animals worldwide through the negotiation and implementation of agreements and action plans. At present, 114 countries are parties to the Convention. (www.cms.int)
At the 9th CMS Conference of Parties the Scientific Council put a special focus on tigers and other Asian Big Cats and highlighted the importance of taking steps to reverse the rapid decline of wild tigers. As 20 per cent of tiger habitat is trans-border, the need for transboundary co-operation among tiger range countries is emphasized.
A proposal for listing the tiger on the CMS Appendices may be submitted by Bangladesh or India in November 2011 at the 10th Conference of the Parties.
Tiger Conservation Status:
According to the IUCN Red List, the South China Tiger and the Sumatra Tiger is Critically Endangered while the remaining four sub species are Endangered. The Bali, Caspian and Javan Tiger have already become extinct.
Tigers are listed on CITES Appendix I, banning international trade, and all Tiger range states as well as countries with consumer markets have banned domestic trade as well although implementation has been uneven. At the 14th Conference of the Parties to CITES, stronger enforcement measures were called for, as well as an end to the production of tiger products from captive tigers.
According to the GTI, the remaining populations number the following number of tigers: India 1,200-1650; Indonesia 450-700; Bangladesh 400; Nepal 350; Russia 350; Bhutan 70-80; China 40-50; Cambodia 10-50; Laos 50; Vietnam less than 30; Burma about 100; Thailand 250-500; Malaysia 300-500.