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Tigers Conservation - A Brighter Future?

May 28, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 120

One of the most endangered wild animals in the world, the Tiger is also one of the most beloved - highly respected in many cultures, and the star attraction of Tiger safari trips - and yet it still faces multiple threats. But although conservation efforts have encountered numerous setbacks, there is hope for a brighter future, with international cooperation on the rise. This is something that is of vital importance given the wide-ranging nature of the animals with their habitat encompassing many countries. Thirteen of those countries are members of CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora). India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burma, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Indonesia, Russia and China have all vowed to double the number of wild Tigers - currently around 3200.

Threats Faced

Historically, the hunting of these animals for sport and clearing of vast tracts of forest contributed to a steep decline in numbers, while continuing human expansion has reduced their natural habitat. The forests where they can be sighted on a Tiger safari are often isolated 'islands', which reduces social interaction between animals - important for breeding. All of these problems are exacerbated by a highly lucrative black market trade in Tiger parts. But there are sustained efforts being made to tackle all of these problems.

Solutions: Reserves and Corridors

One important goal for sustainable populations in the future is the construction of so-called Tiger corridors. While conservation is currently focused on maintaining and increasing populations within reserves such as Ranthambore, a popular Tiger safari destination, the Tiger is a wide-ranging creature. Yet the land between reserves is largely human territory, fraught with hazards for the animals who are nonetheless naturally inclined to travel far and wide. The long-term solution is to build protected corridors between reserves across all of Asia's Tiger-supporting landscapes, thus creating a vast network of viable habitats that transcends human borders. This will allow the animals to range freely in safety, and ensure good genetic health with a region-wide breeding pool. However, developing this network alongside ever-growing human infrastructures presents a challenge.

The Importance of Cooperation

One of the most tragic ironies of the conservation is the way that, in the past, disparate NGO and governmental approaches to protecting the species have diverted energy and resources away from each other, but this is changing. Increased awareness of the need for across-the-board cooperation - encompassing governments, conservation organisations, and individual humans, whether from local populations or visiting on Tiger safari - is starting to take effect. International projects and conferences are promoting the vital importance of collaborative efforts if the creature is to thrive once more. At one recent event, the May 2012 Global Tiger Recovery Programme conference in New Delhi, cross-border conservation resolutions were signed between India, Russia and Nepal, while the attending range countries - 13 in total - pooled knowledge and resources to address key issues and challenges.

Marissa Ellis-Snow is a freelance nature writer. Naturetrek is a tour operator specialising in expert-led natural history and Tiger safari tours worldwide. Naturetrek brings over 25 years of experience to their Tiger safari tours in some of the most spectacular regions on Earth.

Source: EzineArticles
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