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Amur tiger head­ing for extinc­tion says IFAW

pub­lished 28 Sep­tem­ber 2012 | mod­i­fied 28 Sep­tem­ber 2012

amur tigerRussia’s small pop­u­la­tion of highly-​endangered Amur tigers has almost halved in the last seven years despite attempts to pro­tect them, the Inter­na­tional Fund for Ani­mal Wel­fare (IFAW) said on Thurs­day, ahead of Sunday’s Tiger Day.

Just 80 of the big cats remain in the wild in the Amur Region in Russia’s Far East, accord­ing to mon­i­tor­ing in 16 zones there, down from 120 in the period 20045. Habi­tat shrink­age and a declin­ing food base con­tinue, despite mea­sures to pro­tect the ani­mals put in place after the 2010 Tiger Sum­mit in St. Peters­burg, IFAW says. “Every year there are more orphan tigers, which is a sign of a falling pop­u­la­tion and the rate of fall in the pop­u­la­tion today rep­re­sents a threat to their existence.”

The sys­tem of pro­tec­tion for them is com­plex and inco­her­ent, with dif­fer­ent agen­cies hav­ing over­lap­ping respon­si­bil­i­ties, all on insuf­fi­cient money, and the result of all this is that there is almost no-​one out work­ing in the taiga. There is an anti-​poaching pro­gram and also a return to the wild scheme for young tigers found there — pro­grams funded by IFAW for many years — but the pop­u­la­tion is still falling
Maria Vorontsova, direc­tor IFAW Russia »

Rus­sia must strictly pro­tect the tiger’s habi­tat, stop the bar­baric and ille­gal destruc­tion of the for­est and imple­ment a rig­or­ous anti-​poaching cam­paign, both against tiger-​hunters and those hunt­ing their prey,” Vorontsova said. Russ­ian law does not pun­ish poach­ers caught in pos­ses­sion of tiger pelts, or other ani­mal parts, she added.

In August 2012, Pri­morye police con­fis­cated eight tiger skins from the head of a band of poach­ers but could only pros­e­cute him for arms pos­ses­sion offences, she explained. “The effort and means is there, but we need to add the state’s will and respon­si­bil­ity. Or Tiger Day risks becom­ing a day when we will have tears in our eyes,” she said.

Since 2000, Tiger Day has been marked annu­ally on the last Sun­day of Sep­tem­ber in the Far East city of Vladi­vos­tok, and is sup­ported by the city and regional author­i­ties and IFAW.

The above news item is reprinted from mate­ri­als avail­able at ALTA, Amur Leop­ard and Tiger Alliance. Orig­i­nal text may be edited for con­tent and length.

(Source: ALTA, 27.09.2012)

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