India, 12 others vow to double tiger numbers by 2022

A United Nations-led alliance to fight wildlife crime and eliminate threats to wild cats around the world has pledged to double tiger numbers by 2022 in India and 12 other tiger range countries. The alliance was formed this week at an international forum in St Petersburg, Russia on restoring the global tiger population from the brink of extinction, the UN news centre in UN announced. Heads of five major international agencies also discussed collective actions aimed at stopping the poaching, smuggling and illegal trade of tigers.
"Ending wildlife crime against tigers and other endangered species, particularly transnational trafficking, requires a coordinated global response," said the Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Yury Fedotov, who underlined Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's "strong support" for the Tiger Forum.
"Thanks to our expertise based on UN standards and norms in crime prevention and criminal justice, combined with many years of experience helping States to fight crime, UNODC is well positioned to support the Tiger Range Countries," he added.
In 2009, tiger skins sold for up to $20,000 and bones retailed for up to $1,200 per kilogramme with UNODC estimating the total market value at about $5 million.
Over the last century, tiger numbers have plummeted from about 100,000 to less than 3,500 in the wild today, with three sub-species disappearing altogether and the remaining six at risk.
In order to boost tiger conservation efforts, UNODC teamed up with the World Customs Organization (WCO), the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), INTERPOL, and the World Bank to establish the International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC).
Aided by the ICCWC, the 13 Tiger Range Countries will implement the Global Tiger Recovery Programme which will target poaching, the illegal trade of tigers and habitat conservation, as well as create incentives for local people to protect the big cats.
"ICCWC sends a very clear message that a new era of wildlife law enforcement is upon us," said CITES Secretary-General John Scanlon. "Poaching and illegal trade have brought tigers close to the point of no return. Only if we work together, can we ensure that tigers will survive."
Besides India, other countries that have committed towards implementing the Global Tiger Recovery Programme are Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia, Thailand and Vietnam.

Leonardo DiCaprio Donates $1 Million To Tiger Conservation

As world leaders gather for a historic summit to save tigers from extinction, Leonardo DiCaprio today committed $1 million to the World Wildlife Fund for urgent tiger conservation efforts through his Fund at the California Community Foundation. DiCaprio will also attend this week’s summit.
Across Asia, tiger numbers have dropped from 100,000 at the beginning of the last century to as few as 3,200 today. Heads of government from the 13 tiger range countries are gathered in St. Petersburg, Russia, for a first-ever summit to save tigers hosted by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. They are expected to announce a Global Tiger Recovery Program with a goal of doubling the number of wild tigers by 2022.
DiCaprio, a WWF board member, recently visited Nepal and Bhutan with WWF experts, touring tiger habitat on elephant back alongside antipoaching staff, meeting with community members, and learning how WWF scientists monitor the park’s tigers. The donation will add to DiCaprio’s existing commitment to tiger conservation during this Year of the Tiger. Earlier this year, he joined forces with WWF in an effort to raise $20 million for tiger conservation through the Save Tigers Now campaign.
“It’s been a pleasure to work with Leo. He cares deeply about the fate of tigers and the human communities with whom they share their habitat. He is committing his time, his wealth, and most importantly, his talent to this cause,” said Carter Roberts, president and CEO of World Wildlife Fund. “His financial commitment will spark urgent on-the-ground conservation for tigers. His storytelling will inspire people around the world to help.”
DiCaprio’s donation will help support anti-poaching efforts and protect critical tiger forests where the needs are most urgent.
“Illegal poaching of tigers for their parts and massive habitat loss due to palm oil, timber and paper production are driving this species to extinction,” said DiCaprio. “If we don’t take action now, one of the most iconic animals on our planet could be gone in just a few decades. By saving tigers, we can also protect some of our last remaining ancient forests and improve the lives of indigenous communities.”
The 13 countries where tigers still exist are Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia, Thailand and Vietnam.
Money raised by DiCaprio and WWF through Save Tigers Now will go to fund antipoaching efforts and habitat protection in the 12 priority landscapes across Asia that WWF believes represent the best locations to maintain viable, thriving populations of tigers. The money will also fund advocacy and outreach activities to build support for tiger conservation.

India: battleground to save the tiger

Efforts to save the tiger, set to be addressed at a conference in Russia next week, will depend for a large part on the effectiveness of the shield India has tried to throw over the animal.
The country is home to more than half of the world's rapidly dwindling wild tigers, but even its conservation program, said by the government to be the world's most comprehensive, has failed to halt the creature's decline.
In the land that inspired Rudyard Kipling's legendary Jungle Book stories - featuring the cunning tiger protagonist Shere Khan - authorities are in danger of losing their battle against poachers and other man-made problems.
The picture is similar across the Asian region where one of nature's most revered hunters teeters on the brink of extinction.
"Despite all the efforts, we are still facing challenges at various levels to end the poaching problem," Indian Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh said in New Delhi last week.
The tiger population in India has fallen to 1411, from about 3700 estimated to be alive in 2002 and the 40,000 estimated to be roaming across India at the time of independence from Britain in 1947.
"Besides poaching, the tiger in India faces new threats - the destruction of its habitat due to industrial expansion, mining projects and construction of dams near protected reserves," Ramesh said.
The Indian government in 2007 swung into action by setting up a new tiger protection force, chalked out some bold and urgent steps to end the poaching menace and pledged to pump the equivalent of millions of dollars into the program.
Authorities are also moving villagers out of reserve areas to secure natural habitat for the tigers and are transferring animals from one reserve to another in a bid to boost populations.
A report by wildlife trade monitoring group TRAFFIC said parts from 1000 tigers slain by poachers across Asia have been seized over the past decade.
"Tiger skins fetch anywhere around $US11,000 ($A11,264) to $US21,000 ($A21,505) and bones are sold for about $US1000 ($A1024) in China," said Rajesh Gopal, the chairman of the National Tiger Conservation Authority in New Delhi.
"There is a huge demand for these items in China and poachers take all the risk to make high profits."
Across Asia, the tiger figures are alarming.
According to 2009 International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List, there are 70 tigers in Bhutan, between 10 and 50 in Cambodia, about 40 in China, 300 in Malaysia, 100 in Burma, 350 in Russia, more than 250 in Thailand and fewer than 100 in Vietnam.
"There are just 3200 tigers left across the world - this is a scary figure," Ramesh said last week ahead of the Global Tiger Summit in St Petersburg which starts on Sunday.
The director of the Wildlife Protection of India, Belinda Wright, is sceptical about the agenda of the summit, which will seek to double the number of tigers by 2020.
"It sounds very ambitious and positive that we will have 6000 tigers in two decades, but tell me how will they do it without being able to save the existing ones?" Wright told AFP.
"Patchy intelligence-gathering techniques across Asia and lack of cross-border commitment to end the sale of tiger parts has led to a collective failure."
A major trafficking route begins in India and ends in China, where tiger parts are highly prized as purported cures for a range of ailments and as aphrodisiacs.
India's porous border with neighbouring Nepal, home to 121 Royal Bengal tigers, acts as a smuggling corridor for poachers, who bribe poor forest dwellers to guide them through the dense jungles.
This year the Nepalese government pledged to double the number of tigers, but campaigners say the deeply impoverished country lacks the funding to carry through on the promise.
In Bangladesh, another of India's neighbours, chief wildlife conservator Tapan Kumar Dey says tiger numbers have risen since 2004, when a United Nations-funded census found 440, but this is disputed by some observers.
Dey said doubling the tiger population was impossible for Bangladesh.
"The unique mangrove ecosystem, a tiger habitat, cannot be expanded to encourage more tigers, plus there is not enough food - largely spotted deer - to sustain an increased tiger population," he said.

Tiger death: Govt wakes up finally; allots Rs 30cr

TigerSariska, Nov 18: The death of the tiger in Sariska reserve finally made the government to wake up as beside increasing the security power at the region, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh announced Rs 30 crore to the reserve.

The huge amount of money has been allotted to the reserve to utilise it by 2011 to speed up the relocation of villagers from the forest area.

Granting the money, Jairam stated, "It is a wake up call for us," however, he also informed that the first installment of Rs 10 crore will be given in Dec 2010.

"The next six to eight months are crucial and we have to act fast so that the relocation programme for re-establishing a tiger population in Sariska becomes a success," asserted Jairam on Nov 18.

In Sariska, a big cat, relocated from Ranthambore in 2008, was found dead and another tiger was missing from last week, reported the reserve official on Nov 16.

Honeymooning couple leaves behind a trail of woes for forest officials

RANTHAMBHORE: The celeb couple Russell Brand and Katy Perry on Monday flew to Maldives for their honeymoon, but left behind a trail of tough questions for the state officials to answer over alleged disregard for wildlife, environment and civic laws during their wedding near the tiger reserve.

An activist and a lawyer of Ranthamhore has lodged a criminal complaint against the couple and friends and a forest official of the tiger reserve for violating the Wildlife Protection Act.

The petition was filed in the court of chief judicial magistrate of Sawaimadhopur on Monday. The hearing will take place on October 30.

While Brand and Perry left the country in a chartered flight, their friends named in the complaint too have returned.

The petition filed by advocate Akshay Sharma, who runs an organisation Ranthambhore Park Bachao Samiti, in his petition alleged that the Hollywood couple committed gross violation of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act by playing loud music and keeping the decorative lights on beyond the the stipulated limit of 10pm last Saturday.

The petitioner said it was gross violation of the Section 29, 30, 31 and 32 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act and therefore punishable under law.

Apart from the couple, Brand's friend Daniel Javed and his security guard John Conson are also named in the petition along with the manager of the luxury resort Aman-e- Khas at Ranthambhore. The petitioner charged the forest officer of Ranthambhore RS Shekhawat of negligence of duty under Section 166 of the IPC.

Sharma said on October 22, when Brand along with his friends went on a safari inside the tiger reserve, some photographers tried clicking their pictures. On seeing this, Brand's security person John Conson attacked a photographer.

The complaint states that the security person took away the keys of the jeep, in which the photogrphers were tavelling, leaving the latter stranded in the jungle.

The petitioner blamed the forest officer for allowing the security person and Brand to go scot-free.

A few days ago, chief minister Ashok Gehlot, on a visit to the Ranthambore national park received complaints against the inconvenience caused by the wedding to the locals and the wildlife. Following which, the CM had ordered an inquiry into the matter. The reports have been submitted to the district magistrate of Sawaimadhopur.

Russell Gifts A Tigress To Katy As A Wedding Gift

Russell Brand and Katy Perry
Russell Brand and Katy Perry, got married on Saturday in India at the luxury resort, Aman-i-Khas, in Jaipur. After the wedding, Russell Brand gifted Katy the most extraordinary wedding gift, a Tigress.

The tigress, named Machli, lives in the Ranthambore National Park. Russell Brand bought the tigress with thousands of pounds. The Tigress is known to the epitome of beauty and according to Russell reminds him of Katy Perry. The tigress will be left back in India but Russell will look after the welfare of the tigress on Katy's behalf.

Russell Brand and
Katy Perry's wedding was according to Christian ways but they have also followed some Indian tradition. Katy looked beautiful in a sari and henna in her hands. The venue was also decorated with designer lamps and flowers. Among other guests, two elephants were also part of the ceremony.

Rihanna, who was rumoured to be the bridesmaid, did not attend the wedding in India but Katy takes no offense in that. Rihanna is busy in Las Vegas and Katy completely understands that.

Belinda Wright: An inspiration for all

Belinda Wright is a well known Indian conservationist. She is also a prominent wild life photographer of India. Belinda Wright has founded and is the Executive Director of Wildlife Protection Society of India. Belinda Wright was born in the year 1953. Her mother Anne Wright is Founder Trustee of World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF-India), which was established in late 1960s. Further, she was also a member of the Tiger Task Force commissioned by Indira Gandhi, for selecting nine tiger reserves in order to launch Project Tiger in the year 1973. Belinda Wright`s father Robert Hamilton Wright spent a lot of time working with East India Charitable Trust that runs several charity schools and old people`s homes.

Belinda Wright has spent her life working on wildlife issues in India. Belinda Wright spent her early days in the forests of Bihar, especially around the area which is now under Palamau Tiger Reserve. Belinda Wright has worked for several years with National Geographic Channel and also made films for BBC channel. She won two Emmy Awards in the year 1985 and 14 other big international awards for her film `Land of the Tiger`, which she made for the channel National Geographic. She spent around two years following the lives of the wild tigers in Ranthambore Tiger Reserve and Kanha Tiger Reserve In the year 1994, Belinda Wright founded the Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI). It was founded with the objective of helping to ward off the wildlife crises of the country by giving support and information to fight against poaching and the increasing illegal wildlife trade.

Belinda Wright achieved recognition for her services to the conservation of wildlife and endangoured species in India.
Belinda Wright spotted her first tiger- when other
kids may not even differentiate mother from father-at the age of three
months. With both parents lover of wild life, passion for tigers is in her
DNA as she terms tiger the most charismatic mammal on planet. Her mother
Anne Wright was a member of the Tiger Task Force that was commissioned by
the late Indian Prime Minister, Mrs. Indira Gandhi, to select nine tiger
reserves for the launch of Project Tiger. Following in the foot steps, the
daughter went to become wild life photographer & movie maker before founding
Wild Life Protection Society of India in 1994, an NGO working for wild life
conservation. It provides information, training & legal support to
enforcement authorities to combat poaching. WPSI has established a network
of informers throughout the India & prepared a comprehensive database on
wild life crime. Belinda traveled extensively in Tibet to unearth links of
Shahtoosh-Tiger trade.

Her father Robert Hamilton Wright received the "Officer of the Order of the
British Empire" or OBE, while Anne was awarded "Member of the Most Excellent
Order of the British Empire". In 2003 Belinda, following her parents was
awarded Officer of the Order of the British Empire services to the
protection of wildlife and endangered species in India".

Over the past 100 years wild tiger numbers have declined 97% worldwide. In India, where there are 39 tiger reserves and 663 protected areas, there may be only 1,400 wild tigers left, according to a 2008 census, and possibly as few as 800, according to estimates by some experts. Illegal poaching remains the primary cause of the tiger's decline, driven by black market demand for tiger skins, bones and organs. One of India's leading conservationists, Belinda Wright has been on the forefront of the country's wildlife issues for over three decades. While her organization, the Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI), does not carry the global recognition of large international NGOs, her group’s commitment to the preservation of tigers, their habitat, and the Indian people who live with these apex predators, is one reason tigers still exist!

Help the Indian Tigers survive! It's never too late!

These days, everywhere I go, I am seeing hoardings saying 'Just 1411 Left'. Normally, I would groan and grumble on seeing the figure of 1411 on my shopping bills; sounds too much, but when it comes to the no. of tigers, don't you think it's too small a number representing a species. Statistics suggest that with the end of the last century we had lost 3 out of 8 tiger species. The three being, the Caspian, Balinese and Javan.

And by extinction, you know what I mean, I am sure I haven't seen them and my kids and grandkids won't even know they existed. They are just names. Sitting in my air conditioned room, I can't even imagine what these magnificent animals are facing. I mean it is tough to imagine that today these charismatic animals are poisoned, trapped, shot and killed for monetary gains. Such a miserable death to such a royal animal. Miserable or not, why should they have to die. Sometimes, I like to substitute human beings in the statistics and imagine how it would feel if there were just 1411 of them left. Sounds like some sci fi movie, but is definitely scary and obviously I wouldn't be alive myself. Somebody else will be counting.

The Sub Species of Tigers
As mentioned already, there are 8 sub species of tigers, of which, 3 are extinct. The names of the 8 species of tigers are:
  1. Bengal Tiger
  2. Indochinese Tiger
  3. Sumatran Tiger
  4. Amur/Siberian Tiger
  5. South Chinese Tiger
  6. Javan Tiger (extinct)
  7. Caspian Tiger (extinct)
  8. Bali Tiger (extinct)
In the list, the ones that don't have extinct attached to their name, are endangered and may be, will soon have the extinct surname (thanks to human beings) and interestingly, scientists have suggested that South Chinese Tiger is already 'functionally extinct'.

Endangered Tiger Facts

Tiger: Physical Characteristics
Coming to the tigers' bio-data, it is the largest member of the cat family. Their size varies according to the species and the gender. Though the average height is 3 feet, standing and 5-7 feet from head to the back. Additionally, their tail averages to about 3 feet. The weight of these animals ranges between 175-650 pounds.

Tiger in the Food Chain
Socially or say 'jungally', tigers stand on the top of the food pyramid. They are the unofficial kings of the jungle and their only enemies are human beings. So, they are the hunters of the jungle, eating anything from a deer to a seal. Their hunting skills are one of the best and nobody defeats them on that, except our very own villains the Poachers. Poachers hunt and kill them for their fur, teeth and many other such absurd reasons. Just one kill makes a poacher richer by many folds, so it's difficult to convince people not to kill them. What we need are stricter rules and dedicated activists and forest rangers, who make sure that these precious creatures aren't harmed in anyway.

World Population of Tigers
According to statistics, the world population of tiger in early 1900s was around 100,000 and it depleted to 40,000 by 1950s. A major fall in their population came in the 1970s, when their numbers drastically depleted to 4000, owing to wide scale poaching for their fur and Chinese medications and some rare delicacies (human being=shameless). Even today, people in countries like Korea, Taiwan, China and India earn their living by killing these magnificent animals. The first thing we have to do is stop the trade of animal fur and body parts. When there will be no demand, there won't be any killing (hoping). Current day statistics suggest that there are around 5000-7000 tigers left in the world, of which 1411 are in the Indian subcontinent.

Enemies of the Endangered Tigers
  1. Poaching: Killing of tigers for their parts is being done since ages. Some communities use up each and every part of a tiger once it is murdered. And not to mention, they earn a lot.
  2. Hunting: Hunting tigers used to be a favorite pastime for royal people. Killing a tiger and keeping the head as a trophy is an age-old tradition. And it is still done at some places.
  3. Depleting Habitat: Tigers are said to be an umbrella species, so in order to protect them, we have to not only work on their numbers, we also need to protect their habitat and other animals related to them, like the animals that form their food.
  4. Chinese Medicines: These medicines have been around since thousands of years and they use up each and every part of this beautiful animal and ironically, they have no scientific proof that they work.
Save Tigers from Extinction - How
Organizations across the globe are working hard to protect this feline animal. But their efforts are lacking somewhere. Given the size of the habitat, it is practically impossible to protect each and every animal. Though people are trying, it is still not enough. There are organizations which are working tirelessly, so that each animal is safe and lives its complete natural life. Governments have banned poaching and have made wildlife sanctuaries where these animals are allowed to live freely and protected thoroughly from human beings, but somewhere the efforts are failing, because of human negligence and at some places because of human greed. Corruption has lead to cases where the protectors themselves allowed these animals to be killed for a handsome amount of money. So, this proves that nothing can win the human mind. A tiger will be safe only when human beings will understand why it is important and necessary to save them. Making sanctuaries and encircling them with barbs is not enough when one human mind can fail all this in a single night.

In my opinion, it is high time that all these animals are collected and clubbed together in a high security facility, away from human beings. There is no need to keep them in zoos and sanctuaries. They will be better off away from human sight. It's high time that some extreme steps are taken and these animals are protected and bred to increase their numbers.

It is very heart wrenching to note that the majestic animal which commands such power,has been left in a state so low where it is at the mercy of the heartless poachers and animal traffickers. Out of the wonderful number just a few years back,the number of tigers in my country has declined to a shocking 1411 or maybe less than that!
We talk about development. Recently our country hosted the Commonwealth Games 2010! It was a success for sure! Sources tell that almost 70 crores were spent on the games. What if we could spent only 0.1% of that amount to renew the reserves for our tigers and provide them a better place to live?
The realization has dawned late but better than never. Steps have been taken to create awareness and stop the encroachment and harm caused by our carelessness, but a lot has to be put into action yet. Everyone feels so happy when they wear a slogan T-shirt. But unless those proceeds are going to an organization that practically DOES something, they are just empty words on fabric or a computer screen.
The problem with ‘Save our Tigers’ campaign is it lacks relevance. The urban people aren’t the ones who directly affect the dwindling population of the big cat. This campaign should have rightly been targeted at the poachers and other villagers who encroach into the tiger’s habitat. By becoming a fan in a Facebook or following in Twitter isn’t going to help the animal. The poachers aren’t going to read what I blog. Let’s get practical.
All of us are aware of the many benefits the tigers provide and the fact tat its hunted and killed for every part of its body from head to toe is just saddening.
Everyone has the right to live,humans or animals. Humans have no right to disturb the balance of nature by their selfish acts. If the poachers are to be blamed,den so are our wildlife protection authorities and the people who encourage such acts by purchasing what is sold!
SAY NO! As every voice counts, every thought matters!
So here i am sharing my concern!
Save our tigers!
Save our nationality!

News Update
  1. 3 Royal Bengal tiger cubs born in Guwahati zoo
  2. Bengal tiger which killed three goats trapped

Sunderbans big cats get smaller

The scientists at the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) have found significant differences between the tigers found in the Sunderbans delta and those found in the rest of the country. They feel that the “smaller and lighter” tigers of the deltaic region could have evolved into a sub-species of Royal Bengal Tiger, as the big cats have adapted to the ecological conditions of their habitat, which remains inundated by the tidal waves.

“The tigers found in the Sunderbans could be a different sub-species of Royal Bengal Tiger (Panthera tigris tigris), which is found all across the India,” said Dr Yadvendradev Jhala, a scientist at the WII who is examining the reasons that could have led to the tigers developing deviant features.
“There could be genetic or adaptive reason behind this. For a different species, it takes about one million years to evolve but for a different sub-species can evolve in 20,000 to 50,000 years,” said Jhala.




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