A Time for Tigers

The bad news is that we’re losing them—fast. The good news is if the world recognizes the inherent worth of wild tigers to nature, people and culture, we can save this irreplaceable icon of our living planet

Tiger experts, government officials, scientists and conservationists are gathering in Kathmandu, Nepal this week to start a new global dialogue on how to save wild tigers as the world prepares to celebrate the Year of the Tiger in 2010. The Kathmandu Global Tiger Workshop is the first in a series of high profile political negotiations culminating in a Tiger Summit in 2010.

“What tigers need is the highest level of political commitment from government leaders in tiger range countries ever seen,” said Dr. Eric Dinerstein, Chief Scientist at WWF-US. “WWF is here to be part of the game changing solutions, which will be achieved at meetings such as this one.”

WWF is participating in the workshop not only as an important partner of the Government of Nepal but also as a member of the Global Tiger Initiative (GTI) and the International Tiger Coalition. Our goal is to do what it takes to double the current number of wild tigers by 2022, the next Year of the Tiger.

Nepal, nestled in the Eastern Himalayas, is home to greater one-horned rhinos, Asian elephants, and Bengal tigers.
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Wild tiger populations are estimated to be as low as 3,200, and while many important successes have been gained by the global conservation community, tiger populations are still in decline.

Starting this week, almost all of the governments of 13 tiger range countries (Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Lao, Malaysia, Myanmar (Burma), Nepal, Russia, Thailand and Vietnam) along with the GTI—a coalition of NGOs and institutions supported by a dedicated secretariat in the World Bank—and the tiger conservation community will pinpoint specific actions needed to shift the present trajectory from extinction towards recovery.

“The situation is urgent for wild tigers but there is hope,” said Dr. Barney Long, WWF’s Asian Species expert. “Given the chance–enough space, enough prey and enough protection—tigers can recover. “

WWF, the global conservation organization, has worked on tiger conservation for over 40 years and has projects in almost all the tiger range countries.

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