The Action of Tiger Conservation As the population of tiger in the world dwindles nowadays, everyone has the responsibility for the conservation of tiger especially tiger range countries. Over the past 100 years, tiger numbers have declined by 95 percent which leave only 3,200 and three sub-species have become extinct – with a fourth not seen in the wild for over 25 years (World Wild Fund for Nature [WWF] International, 2008). Since it is estimated that wild tiger number halved to 3,200, we can stop this decline if we act together now.
In the countries where tiger population is facing extinction, government, conservation groups, and corporation have stepped many efforts to recover the threat of extinction. Government plays a vital role in taking steps to conserve population of tiger because without them a tiger conservation policy cannot be implemented. All of the governments throughout the species' ratige demonstrate greater resolve and lasting commitments to conserve tigers and their habitats, as well as to stop all trade in tiger products from wild and captive-bred sources (Dinerstein et al. , 2007).
In Malaysia, the Department of Wildlife and National Parks Peninsular Malaysia which under Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment Government of Malaysia has introduced the National Tiger Action Plan for Malaysia in the year 2008. The aim of the Plan is to double the population of Malayan tigers from 500 to about 1,000 in the nation’s Central Forest Spine by 2020. This Plan identifies four objectives towards achieving following goal: 1. Secure the Central Forest Spine with strictly protected priority areas in landscapes connected with corridors. 2. Provide effective and long-term protection of tigers and their prey. . Promote and practice ecologically sound land-use, compatible with tiger conservation outside the priority areas. 4. Apply science in monitoring the efficacy of conservation actions and improving the knowledge of tiger ecology. (Department of Wildlife and National Parks Peninsular Malaysia [DWNP], 2008). Furthermore, the vigilance of the Anti-Smuggling Unit officers and the Department of Wildlife and National Parks’ Wildlife Crime Unit prevented the smugglers from slipping their illicit haul through the Malaysia-Thailand border and into the illegal trade in tigers and their parts.
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Besides that, the law is being amended and other more stringent regulations are being finalized which allow for higher fines and longer jail sentences for poaching tigers. This is because as it stands, taking a tiger or any part of a tiger is an offense under the Protection of Wild Life Act 1972 which allows for a maximum fine of RM15,000 (USD4,000), a jail term of up to five years, or both. This is paltry compared to the fortune awaiting the smuggler when his illegal haul is finally sold (John ; Shepherd, 2009).
According to the World Wild Fund for Nature (2008), India is home to the world’s largest population of tigers in the wild which is nearly to half of the world’s tigers or 1,400 of the 3,500 tigers. A major concerted conservation effort by the government known as Project Tiger. Project Tiger is a wildlife conservation movement initially spearheaded in India in 1972 by Indira Gandhi, the prime minister of the Republic of India from 1966 to 1977 to protect the Bengal Tigers.
The project aims at tiger conservation in specially constituted tiger reserves representative of various biogeographical regions throughout India. Under the flagship Project Tiger program, the central government allocated a budget of USD17. 75 million to Indian tiger reserves during ninth five-year plan from 1997 to 2002 (Dinerstein et al. , 2007). The fundamental accomplishment has been the establishment of over 25 well-monitored tiger reserves in reclaimed land where human development is categorically forbidden.
The program has been credited with tripling the number of wild Bengal tigers from roughly 1,200 in 1973 to over 3,500 in the 1990s. However, after that tiger conservation in India used to focus on an exhaustive, census-based attempt which known as tiger census to determine exact tiger numbers. A report was stated that the wild tiger population in India declined by 60% to approximately 1,411 by using tiger-census technique. It is noted in the report that the decrease of tiger population can be attributed directly to poaching.
Now it has shifted to population sampling based on the mapping software known as Geographic Information Systems (GIS). In place of the tiger census, India’s Ministry of the Environment and Forests has launched a GIS-based program that monitors habitat. The new system uses a sample-based approach to estimate tiger populations and to evaluate whether tiger habitat is increasing, decreasing, or stable (Bobechko ; Stockton, 2004). Following the release of the report, the Indian government also pledged $153 million to further fund the Project Tiger initiative, set-up a Tiger Protection Force to combat oachers, and fund the relocation of up to 200,000 villagers to minimise human-tiger interaction. Additionally, eight new tiger reserves in India are being set up. Indian officials successfully started a project to reintroduce the tigers into the Sariska Tiger Reserve. The Ranthambore National Park is often cited as a major success by Indian officials against poaching. On the other hand, India was seeking the support of World Bank and multilateral leader in highlighting efforts to keep alive India’s national emblem, the near-extinct wild tiger (Lamont, 2010).
In Thailand, government of Thailand hosts world’s first inter-ministerial meeting on wild tiger conservation. The 1st Asian Ministerial Conference on Tiger Conservation will be held at the resort of Hua Hin, Thailand from January 27-30, hosted by the Royal Government of Thailand and co-organized by the World Bank, Save the Tiger Fund and other partners of the Global Tiger Initiative. All 13 tiger range countries were represented in Hua Hin. They include Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia, Thailand, and Vietnam.
It marks the first time that ministers from tiger range countries will come together to find ways to work together on tiger conservation. At the 1st Asia Ministerial Conference on Tiger Conservation, governments from the 13 tiger range countries (TRCs) showed unprecedented unanimity around the ambitious goal of total protection of critical tiger habitats and doubling the global number of wild tigers by 2022, the next Year of the Tiger. Thailand, the conference host, announced new commitments to improve and expand wildlife patrolling efforts.
It was the first ever meeting of high-level representatives of the TRCs to discuss wild tiger conservation and signaled powerful convergence of political will, solidarity, and recognition of the urgency of the crisis facing the iconic symbol of Asia’s biodiversity. The meeting in Thailand was the latest concerted effort by governments and wildlife conservation experts set in motion by the Global Tiger Initiative (GTI) to date to consider local, national, and regional plans to address tiger conservation issues.
Experts and practitioners of conservation in the TRCs continued discussions on best practices and adoption of policies embracing locally-targeted ‘tiger-friendly’ strategies in areas such as smart green infrastructure and landscape and park management, building on work from a conference on wildlife enforcement in Pattaya, Thailand last year, and the Kathmandu Global Tiger Workshop held in Nepal in October 2009 (Global Tiger Initiative, 2010). Thailand, the host government used the Hua Hin Ministerial meeting as a platform to announce new commitments, including expanding its Smart wildlife patrolling program in the Western Forest Complex.
Thailand's Western Forest Complex – a 6,900 square mile (18,000 square kilometers) network of parks and wildlife reserves can potentially support some 2,000 tigers, making it one of the world's strongholds for these emblematic big cats, according to a new study by Thailand's Department of National Park, Wildlife, and Plant Conservation and the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society. The Western Forest Complex currently supports an estimated 720 tigers. These tiger densities were lower than those reported by Wildlife Conservation Society scientists from some protected areas in India with similar habitat, but better enforcement.
For example, tiger densities of as many as 12 tigers per 100 square kilometers were measured in India's Nagarahole, Bandipur and Kanha forests, as opposed to four tigers per 100 square kilometers in Thailand's Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary. The Hua Hin Declaration was unanimously adopted by delegates at the ministerial meeting, reflecting minister-level agreement among the TRCs to redouble efforts on the ground to halt the decline of tigers and assist in recovery of habitats (Wildlife Conservation Society, 2008).
Where national governments supported in part by conservation groups, make a consistent and substantial commitments to tiger conservation, tiger do recover. Thus, conservation groups such as Malaysian Conservation Alliance of Tigers (MYCAT), World Wild Fund for Nature (WWF), and play a big part in taking steps to conserve population of tiger. Malaysian Conservation Alliance of Tigers is a joint programme of four non-governmental organization – the Malaysian Nature Society, WWF-Malaysia, TRAFFIC Southeast Asia, and Wildlife Conservation Society Malaysia Programme.
MYCAT is established in 2003 because challenges to tiger conservation are multi-faceted and reaching solutions requires an integrated conservation approach. MYCAT was created to take a holistic approach to conservation by consolidating the resources and strength of the partners to produce a cohesive plan to save the tiger. MYCAT works in partnership with the Department of Wildlife and National Parks Peninsular Malaysia for integrated tiger conservation programme in Malaysia. MYCAT is the collaborative latform for the implementation of National Tiger Action Plan. MYCAT’s role is to increase communication and opportunities for collaboration among the partners whose tiger conservation priorities include habitat protection, human conflict resolution, law enforcement, monitoring of illegal trade, research, education, and public awareness. For example, MYCAT organized Race Against Time: Tiger Day at Zoo Negara, Kuala Lumpur on December 16, 2007. This nationwide awareness campaign is to reduce the incidence of people consuming tigers and tigers’ prey in all forms.
Many people getting their hands dirty making plaster casts of tiger footprints, learning about the cruelty of snares, playing wildlife games and much more. Thousands took their first step in saving wild tigers by signing the petition for improved legislation. Furthermore, MYCAT had set up the 24-hour Tiger Crime Hotline at 019 356 4194 to encourage public reporting of possible crimes against and their prey. The need for a 24-hour hotline is clear: poachers and smugglers don’t just work between 9-5.
The 24-hour Tiger Crime Hotline allows everyone to easily report suspected wildlife crimes or send report to [email protected] net (Malaysian Nature Society, 2006). The World Wild Fund for Nature (WWF) is one of the largest international conservation groups. In this year, 2010, WWF has placed tigers at the top of their conservation priorities, fearing that the Chinese Year of the Tiger might hasten their extinction by spurring demand for the animal's body parts (Lamont ; WWF Global, 2010).
Attaching top priority to remaining wild tiger populations around the world, WWF will witness the organization redoubling its efforts to preserve habitat and to give remaining species of wild tigers an earnest boost in their struggle to remain viable. WWF has launched the “Tx2: Double or Nothing” tiger conservation campaign. WWF's Tx2 campaign aims to put in place the necessary conditions to double the wild tiger population by the next Year of the Tiger in 2022.
The Tx2 campaign is all about setting the right conditions to enable our tiger population to double naturally in the wild. Monitoring of tiger populations, increasing patrol teams to reduce poaching threats and protecting tiger habitats are some of the ways to achieve this. Throughout 2010, WWF is focusing efforts on securing emergency funds to halt poaching in the most critical tiger landscapes, securing political will and action to double wild tiger numbers, and protecting tiger habitat at an unprecedented scale, including clamping down hard on the illegal tiger trade.
In addition, WWF outlined the current top 10 trouble spots for tigers in a first time interactive map that provides a unique overview of threats faced by wild tigers (WWF Global, 2010). Other than that, WWF-India strengthens patrolling capacity of Panna Tiger Reserve with vehicles. With the aim of strengthening tiger protection, WWF-India has supported Madhya Pradesh’s Panna Tiger Reserve with a four-wheeler and four motorcycles. The formal handover ceremony happened on Jan 26, 2010, the 60th anniversary of India becoming a republic.
The vehicles are expected to strengthen the monitoring capacity of the staff of the tiger reserve and thereby deter poachers. They will help observe the tigers which were recently translocated here. In addition, they will be used to oversee the process of repopulation of Panna through future translocations (WWF-India, 2010). TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network, is an international conservation group dedicated to ensure that trade in wild plants and animals are not threat to the conservation of nature.
TRAFFIC is a joint programme of World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the World Conservation Union (IUCN). TRAFFIC also works in close co-operation with the Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). TRAFFIC has done many works to conserve tigers. TRAFFIC monitors wildlife markets in Asia and elsewhere by identifying any tiger parts being traded (there are many fake “tiger parts” in circulation) and informing the appropriate authorities of required action to curb such trade.
TRAFFIC also works with enforcement authorities and governments to take action to protect Tigers. For example, TRAFFIC India recently provided metal detectors and training to help park guards detect the use of illegal metal snares in Tiger reserves. TRAFFIC is also developing a database to monitor all seizures and trade in tiger parts. It is being modeled on ETIS, a database that has proved successful for monitoring illegal ivory trade and ensuring effective action is taken to curtail it.
TRAFFIC also helps to raise awareness about the conservation plight of wild Tigers. Besides that, TRAFFIC are also committed to assisting the Global Tiger Forum (GTF) and tiger range states with any technical assistance necessary to help the GTF fulfill its full potential as a significant global force for tiger conservation (TRAFFIC, 2008). On the other hand, the continuous decline in wild tiger populations worldwide which adversely impact both the biodiversity system and national heritage have also led to corporation heightening tiger conservation efforts globally.
Thus, corporation also can play a role in taking steps to conserve the population of tiger. In Malaysia, the country's leading financial services group, Maybank which bears the face of the Malayan tiger as its iconic emblem, is taking action by entering into a two-year partnership with the Malaysian Conservation Alliance for Tigers (MYCAT) in an effort to bring the plight of the Malayan tiger to the forefront. Maybank will be contributing RM1 million towards a dedicated outreach and research programme being spearheaded by MYCAT.
While Maybank has been involved in supporting tigers in Malaysia's zoos, the rapidly declining tiger populations worldwide and appalling rate of poaching of tigers in our country have led us to take firmer action this time around towards the conservation of wild tigers as part of our golden jubilee corporate responsibility activities. As a result, Maybank decided to provide funds that will be used mainly by scientists to conduct research that aims to gather data that will help us conserve the fast-declining Malayan tiger from extinction.
The Maybank & MYCAT alliance will also focus on raising public awareness among our rural and urban communities, and providing enforcement support to the authorities by assisting in collecting accurate, real-time information on wildlife crimes (Low, 2010). As a corporation, Maybank view this as an ideal opportunity to encourage our employees and the communities we operate in to learn more about the importance of biodiversity balance and the role conservation efforts can play in protecting our Malayan tiger, a national heritage.
This partnership also serves to remind people that nature is not just a commodity to be extracted or taken for granted, and if we are to progress, it must be with sustainability in mind. The project funded by Maybank will go towards supporting MYCAT in implementing the National Tiger Action Plan 2008-2020 - specifically research that aims to enhance the sustainability of the population of tigers and their preys by securing a safe dispersal tiger corridor at Sungai Yu, the last forest linkage between the Main Range and Taman Negara in Pahang along the Gua Musang-Kuala Lipis trunk road.
Agricultural expansion along the road has created a forest bottleneck and there is only about a 10km stretch of forest left connecting these environmentally sensitive areas. The research will determine the response of wildlife to the past development and current landuse patterns and establish benchmark data for future management. It will also estimate the tiger density in western Taman Negara and compare it to that of ten years go. Maybank's support will allow the public and policy makers to be informed of practical solutions based on careful research.
Maybank employees will also have the opportunity to participate in the outreach programme as volunteers. Among the year-long activities planned with MYCAT are roadshows mainly at night markets and conservation education programmes in schools to create awareness among key communities in the country (Maybank, 2010). Nokia India, the leading mobile communications company in partnership with WWF-India, one of the largest conservation organizations in the country to save the tiger.
Globally, Nokia’s environmental strategy is to drive the use of safe substances and materials in products, improve the energy efficiency of products and create effective take-back and recycling programs. Energy efficiency and climate strategy are other important areas of continuous performance improvement by Nokia. Nokia has been involved in several conservation initiatives with the WWF Global Network. Nokia is extending this global vision to focus on local environment through its partnership with WWF by extend the relationship with WWF-India through Nokia in India.
This is an important step in bringing corporate institutional support for conservation, significantly tiger conservation in India. This is also an important beginning at this critical time for conservation in our India. In July 27, 2008, Nokia India unveiled the ‘Tiger Wall of Hope’ in New Delhi as part of their support initiative for the Tiger Conservation programme of WWF India. The ‘Tiger Wall of Hope’ that has been created out of original pugmarks embedded in Plaster of Paris encased in acrylic are a grim reminder of the critical numbers of tigers left in the wild.
As part of the association, Nokia and WWF-India will work towards providing education to the villagers for sustainable development, increasing awareness on tiger conservation, and identifying alternative livelihood programmes for the villagers around National Parks, specifically the Ranthambore National Park. Furthermore, Nokia will work with WWF in the following areas around Ranthambore to strengthen the existing community institutions and development of further institutions of the community to facilitate community empowerment, to provide education for sustainable development and ommunication outreach to the school teachers and students, villagers-including men and women, civil society communities around the Park and the forest personnel, and to strengthen sustainable and alternative livelihood programmes, to link them with existing schemes of other line departments of the Government of Rajasthan. In addition, Nokia has a robust community involvement program in Sriperumbudur, Chennai around its manufacturing facility that has contributed immensely in improving the socio-economic fabric of the region and its employees.
It is a matter of great privilege for Nokia India to be associated with WWF for the cause of tiger conservation that needs immediate intervention. This endeavor for tiger conservation is an extension of our commitment towards creating a positive impact on the society beyond Nokia’s technology, products, and services. (WWF-India, 2008) While the tiger as a wild species will most likely not go extinct within the next half century, its current trajectory is catastrophic.
If this trend continues, the current range will shrink even further, and wild populations will disappear from many more places, or dwindle to the point of ecological extinction, in which their numbers are too few to play their role as top predator in the ecosystem. Leaving room for wide-ranging mammals such as tigers is vital and must become part of an effort to incorporate wildlife conservation into national and regional development agendas. Over the decades, we have realized that this problem is transnational and that science, economics, culture, public policy, and international dialogue all bear on preserving the tiger and its habitat.
Conserving tigers, tiger habitat, and the natural capital they encompass must be part of the calculus that will continue to fuel Asia's growing prosperity (Dinerstein et al. , 2007). According to George Schaller, “Future generations would be truly saddened that this century had so little foresight, so little compassion, such lack of generosity of spirit for the future that it would eliminate one of the most beautiful and dramatic animals that the world has ever seen. ” (DWNP, 2008)
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