AboutZoos, Since 2008


Bring­ing the Tiger back from the Brink

pub­lished 24 Decem­ber 2010 | mod­i­fied 12 Jan­u­ary 2012

It is a fact, that cur­rent approaches to tiger con­ser­va­tion are not slow­ing the decline in global tiger num­bers, accord­ing the authors of a recently pub­lished arti­cle in PloS Biol­ogy. They pro­pose an adjusted and fea­si­ble approach to stop the decline and

achieve a viable tiger pop­u­la­tion in so called “source sites”. The imme­di­ate pri­or­ity must be to ensure the last remain­ing breed­ing pop­u­la­tions are pro­tected and con­tin­u­ously mon­i­tored, because fewer that 3,500 ani­mals now live in the wild, occu­py­ing less than 7% of their his­tor­i­cal range. The prag­matic strat­egy the researchers sug­gest focuses on pro­tec­tion of the tiger in the “source sites”, in the first place. Source sites are defined as areas, which have the poten­tial to main­tain >25 breed­ing females and are embed­ded in a larger land­scape with the poten­tial to sus­tain even more breed­ing females, and should have an exist­ing con­ser­va­tion infra­struc­ture with a legal man­date for pro­tec­tion. 42 of these sites have been iden­ti­fied, and they con­tain almost 70% of all remain­ing wild tigers. Nev­er­the­less, these source sites alto­gether cover less than 0.5% of the tigers his­tor­i­cal range and just 6% of even their cur­rent dis­tri­b­u­tion. It is clear that the source sites have the best poten­tial to stop the decline in tiger num­bers, how­ever, even these sites have depressed tiger pop­u­la­tions. When the pop­u­la­tion at source sites recover this would result in a 70% increase in the world’s tiger population.

The efforts to pro­tect the tigers at the source sites must include increased law enforce­ment regard­ing tigers and their prey, bio­log­i­cal and law enforce­ment mon­i­tor­ing, and where appro­pri­ate, com­mu­nity engage­ment, infor­ma­tion net­works, and trade mon­i­tor­ing. The authors assessed the cost of the mea­sures, and con­clude that actively pro­tect­ing tigers at source sites is fea­si­ble, and already has led to suc­cesses in many reserves across India between 1974 and 1986.

There­fore, lead­ers of 13 tiger range states and oth­ers attend­ing the most sig­nif­i­cant meet­ing ever con­cern­ing tiger con­ser­va­tion — the Tiger Sum­mit, which will be held in St. Peters­burg, Rus­sia, in Novem­ber 2010 -, will be asked to com­mit to sub­stan­tive mea­sures to pre­vent the extinc­tion of the world’s last tiger pop­u­la­tions. And they will be reminded that pro­tec­tion at the source sites should be sup­ported by con­ser­va­tion of an Asian-​wide net­work of large, tiger-​permeable land­scapes in the long run. (Source: PloS Biol­ogy, 14.09.2010)

UN Biodiversity decade
WWF Stop Wildlife Crime
Fight for Flight campaign
End Ivory-funded Terrorism
Support Rewilding Europe
NASA State of Flux

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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