Tigers Make a Comeback
Feb 9th, 2013 by Autumn Sunshine
Such good news to read this These beautiful tigers could be gone forever if not for these efforts. I’m glad things are going so well with the comeback of the tigers!
Saving the Tigers
In a small triumph, the population of tigers in India and Thailand has grown. At the very end of last year, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) reported that the numbers of tigers have increased in some protected areas in those two countries, thanks in part to significant government effort.
In India, in the Western Ghats region of Karnataka State, there are now some 250 to 300 of the giant cats, a quadrupling of their population from some 30 years ago. In Thailand’s Huai Kha Kaeng wildlife sanctuary, there are now about 50 tigers.
These numbers are tiny when compared to the estimated 100,000 tigers who lived in forests from Turkey to Russia to Indonesia at the beginning of the 20th century. Tigers now occupy only some 6 percent of their historic range and number about 3,200 in the wild, a drastic decline that is directly the result of humans hunting the big cats and encroaching ever further into their habits.
As Cristián Samper, president and chief executive of the WCS, says to the New York Times, “If the conditions are right, tiger populations can recover, though there’s still plenty of challenges.”
In particular, those conditions involve the active, if not aggressive, support of governments.
In protecting an endangered species like tigers, government support is crucial, as Alan Rabinowitz, the head of the conservation organization Panthera, emphasizes. ”An N.G.O. along can’t accomplish this alone — the government really has to step up and put in its own law enforcement resources,” he notes. Saving tigers is a “team effort” requiring “collaboration with governments, law enforcement, fellow conservationists, and local people, we can save these big cats across their range,” the WCS’s Executive Vice President of Conservation and Science, John Robinson, says.
The WCS acknowledges that not every individual tiger can be saved; in Vietnam and Laos, conservationists have “written tigers off as a lost cause.” As Robinson notes, the WCS is focusing its efforts on 42 “source sites” — where there are at least 25 breeding females — in India, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Russia and northern China where there is a “realistic chance of protecting tigers”; it is currently working in 24 of these.
Saving tigers and other endangered species is not rocket science, but it does take intense efforts to fend off poachers and requires governments and conservationists working together.