AboutZoos, Since 2008


Tiger num­bers could triple with the right con­ser­va­tion strategy

pub­lished 08 August 2011 | mod­i­fied 23 Decem­ber 2011

A study has found that the tiger reserves of Asia could sup­port more than 10,000 wild tigers. This would mean that the com­mit­ment made at the St. Peters­burg Tiger Sum­mit (Nov. 2010) to dou­ble the wild tiger pop­u­la­tion across Asia by 2022 is not only pos­si­ble but has the poten­tial to be exceeded.

The study, pub­lished online Jan­u­ary 2011 in Con­ser­va­tion Let­ters, is the first assess­ment of the polit­i­cal com­mit­ment made by all 13 tiger range coun­tries in St. Peters­burg last year.

Cur­rently, as few as 3,200 tigers remain in the wild, scat­tered over small, iso­lated pock­ets across 13 Asian coun­tries. But accord­ing to the authors of the study these num­bers can increase and be tripled by 2022.

This would require that the exist­ing tiger reserves are man­aged as large-​scale land­scapes. Then they could sup­port more than 10,000 wild tigers. His­tor­i­cal exam­ples demon­strate that the exis­tence of habi­tat cor­ri­dors facil­i­tates the recov­ery of wild tiger pop­u­la­tions from the effects of poach­ing, habi­tat loss, prey deple­tion and civil con­flict. Over the next decade, how­ever, wild tiger pop­u­la­tions may come under threat from infra­struc­ture projects in Asia. There­fore con­ser­va­tion and gov­ern­ment inter­ven­tions are essen­tial to ensure that projects con­sider not only pro­tected areas but also large-​scale land­scapes, includ­ing cur­rent and poten­tial for­est cor­ri­dors, to mit­i­gate impact on tiger pop­u­la­tion. When the 20 pri­or­ity tiger con­ser­va­tion land­scapes would be con­nected and these cor­ri­dors main­tained, tigers could freely migrate and use these areas more effec­tively and effi­ciently. The researchers found that this would sup­port the core breed­ing reserves and allow the wild tiger pop­u­la­tion a long-​term sur­vival with over 10,500 tigers, includ­ing about 3,400 breed­ing tigresses.

Accord­ing to one of the lead­ing tiger con­ser­va­tion­ists and co-​author of the study, John Sei­den­sticker: “Tiger con­ser­va­tion is the face of bio­di­ver­sity con­ser­va­tion and com­pe­tent sus­tain­able land-​use man­age­ment at the land­scape level. By sav­ing the tiger we save all the plants and ani­mals that live under the tiger’s umbrella.”

(Sources: Oryx, April 2011 vol 45 no 2; Sci­enceDaily, 25.01.2011)

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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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