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Major tiger conservation effort gets underway

Major tiger conservation effort gets underway

Major tiger conservation effort gets underway
mongabay.com
June 9, 2008





A broad alliance of environmentalits, scientists, and celebrities have teamed with the World Bank Group and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to help protect wild tigers.



The new Tiger Conservation Initiative, launched yesterday at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington D.C., seeks to reverse declining tiger numbers, which have fallen from more than 100,000 a century ago to around 4,000 today due to destruction of habitat, loss of prey, and poaching for their skin and bones.



“Tigers occupy only 7% of their historical range and about 40% less than they did just a decade ago. Business-as-usual is not sustaining wild tigers today,” said John Seidensticker, Head of the Conservation Ecology Center at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo. “All signs point to an impending tiger range collapse. I am pleased and encouraged that the World Bank and others are joining in our collaborative effort to find the ways and means so that wild tigers and no species are left behind in this time of unprecedented global economic expansion that threatens biodiversity”


“Just as with many of the other challenges of sustainability—such as climate change, pandemic disease, or poverty—the crisis facing tigers overwhelms local capabilities and transcends national boundaries,” said World Bank Group President Robert B. Zoellick. “This is a problem that cannot be handled by individual nations alone. It requires an alliance of strong local commitment backed by deep international support.”



The Tiger Conservation Initiative will begin with a series of discussions in countries that still house tigers to learn what has worked locally to protect the tigers. It will assess the financing needs of tiger conservation and “work with governments and the private sector to find innovative funding sources and mobilize new resources for the species” protection.”



“The countries in the range of the tiger are amongst the most important for GEF globally in delivering global biodiversity benefits. By partnering with them in a major effort to conserve quality habitat, this initiative will be pursuing outcomes in conservation, ecosystem services, and livelihoods” said Monique Barbut, CEO and Chairman, Global Environment Facility.


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