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Moos’ Blog


Bio­di­ver­sity Counts!
Obser­va­tions and opin­ions con­cern­ing zoos, evo­lu­tion, nature con­ser­va­tion and the way we treat/​support the ecosys­tems which are sup­posed to serve us.

201203Jun12:40

Sav­ing tigers, what are we doing wrong?

pub­lished 03 June 2012 | mod­i­fied 18 Decem­ber 2016

What is wrong with us peo­ple? Why do we kill tigers? As far as I know tiger skins, claws, bones, blood or tro­phies do not con­tribute to a bet­ter sur­vival rate of the ‘con­sumer’. The few poach­ers and deal­ers in tiger parts, of which the lat­ter belong to organ­ised inter­na­tional wildlife crime syn­di­cates, will improve their sta­tus and liv­ing con­di­tions. For them their crimes pay off very well I sup­pose, with what I call blood money. But it does not help mankind to sur­vive in the long run. On the con­trary, we will exter­mi­nate our­selves, because when tigers go extinct – and they will if we con­tinue like this – we lose a top preda­tor. When we lose the tiger we lose all the plants and ani­mals that live under the tiger’s umbrella, nature’s bal­ance will be dis­turbed. And after we have exter­mi­nated the tiger which top preda­tor is next? Will we move on to kill the last remain­ing lions?

So, why do we let organ­ised inter­na­tional wildlife crime kill tigers? Is it pure igno­rance? I expect that is true for the major­ity of the global pop­u­la­tion. There­fore, the ques­tion should be ‘why are we not able to stop this killing and save the tiger from going extinct’? I doubt if this major­ity is aware of what is really going on out there?

Tiger chops

And what is it that is going on, and should make us care? Two exam­ples that made the news lately are illus­tra­tive of inter­na­tional wildlife crime. One of them is sit­u­ated in India, in the State Maha­rash­tra to be exactly. Eight of the 14 Ben­gal tiger poach­ing deaths in India this year occurred in Maha­rash­tra, where about 40 tigers live (read more here). That is already one more than in all of 2011. As a result the State’s gov­ern­ment has declared war on ani­mal poach­ing by allow­ing for­est guards to shoot hunters on sight in an effort to curb ram­pant attacks on tigers and other wildlife. I don’t know if this is the way to go, but it does indi­cate local action is underway.

Another exam­ple is the sit­u­a­tion in Ker­inci Seblat National Park in Indone­sia. In this park, where 166 Suma­tran tigers live, the sit­u­a­tion for this beau­ti­ful ani­mal has started to dete­ri­o­rate in recent months. Tiger num­bers had been on the rise in this great reserve and poach­ing threats reduced. But lately, a new surge of tiger poach­ing and trade has been recog­nised in Suma­tra, includ­ing in Ker­inci. Poach­ers mainly use snares to trap ani­mals, which lead to awful and painful wounds. Even tigers that are found and res­cued by rangers before the poach­ers find them will not be able to return to the wild after recov­ery, because they can­not hunt any­more. And do you now how many tigers die when a tiger is caught in a snare? (read more here)

Fauna & Flora Inter­na­tional has launched an urgent appeal to save the Suma­tran tiger from extinc­tion, and ask for dona­tions to pro­vide the Ker­inci tiger pro­tec­tion patrol units with essen­tial equip­ment. I sup­port this appeal whole­heart­edly, and would like to invite you to do the same (more about the appeal here).

But.….

It is heart­break­ing what is going on in var­i­ous con­ser­va­tion areas. There­fore, I applaud all the effort of all who try to res­cue poached ani­mals and save endan­gered ani­mals from extinc­tion. But all the appeals from so many con­ser­va­tion societies/​organisations/​institutes/​private enter­prises can be con­fus­ing. What to give to whom and why, and for what? Wouldn’t it be bet­ter to com­bine efforts as much as pos­si­ble, includ­ing fund rais­ing. Some­times it looks as if organ­i­sa­tions are try­ing to out­com­pete each other. I would sug­gest that all con­ser­va­tion organ­i­sa­tions at least show us, the donors, that they work together in a grand pro­gramme with trans­par­ent objec­tives. The dif­fer­ent objec­tives can be addressed by those organisation(s) that are most suited for the task (research, hands on con­ser­va­tion, enforce­ment, …). In addi­tion I would sug­gest that IUCN, together with UNEP per­haps, take the lead in this. At the moment I feel I have to sort out myself who is doing what and is the most effec­tive and effi­cient. I do have the sta­mina, but I doubt if oth­ers do too. It could be worth­while to show there’s good col­lab­o­ra­tion, in my opin­ion. For the reas­sur­ance of those who donate small and large sums of money.

Nev­er­the­less, I would like to end with my per­sonal appeal: Do not give up on the tiger and donate to 21st Cen­tury Tiger or Fauna & Flora Inter­na­tional or Pan­thera or ALTA, these organ­i­sa­tions are worth every cent.

(Sources: Fauna & Flora Inter­na­tional; 21st Cen­tury Tiger; Wildlife Pro­tec­tion Soci­ety of India)


Related blogs

Goal: 7000 tigers in the wild

Tiger range countries map

Tiger map” (CC BY 2.5) by Sander­son et al., 2006.

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