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Tiger Task Force instills renewed Hope for the Future of the Tiger

pub­lished 29 Sep­tem­ber 2012 | mod­i­fied 05 Decem­ber 2012

State of the TigerThe strate­gic for­ma­tion of Panthera’s new Tigers For­ever ‘Task Force’ com­posed of some of the world’s most pre­em­i­nent, inter­na­tional tiger sci­en­tists, has instilled new hope for this endan­gered big cat. Cou­pled with the Pan­thera–Save the Tiger Fund (STF) strat­egy for sav­ing tigers (Tigers For­ever), this grow­ing team of spe­cial­ists com­prises lead­ing experts in tech­nol­ogy, law enforce­ment, human-​tiger con­flict mit­i­ga­tion, bio­log­i­cal mon­i­tor­ing, envi­ron­men­tal pol­icy, and tiger ecol­ogy, who have been assem­bled to aim a blow torch on the tigers great­est threats.

Tiger sharpening clawsNever has this team been needed more so than now. Num­ber­ing in the tens of thou­sands at the begin­ning of the 20th cen­tury, cur­rent esti­mates place the world’s wild tiger pop­u­la­tion as hov­er­ing below 3,200 indi­vid­u­als. Inhab­it­ing less than 7% of its his­toric range, the tiger has expe­ri­enced the great­est range col­lapse of any large cat and is now one of the most endan­gered large mam­mals on the planet.

The great­est threats to tigers are habi­tat loss, over­hunt­ing of tiger prey by humans, and direct poach­ing of tigers for their skins and body parts that are sold on ille­gal wildlife mar­kets through­out south­east Asia.

We know how to save tigers; we know that poach­ing must be stopped, core pop­u­la­tions have to be pro­tected, pop­u­la­tions must be mon­i­tored and the human effort to save them needs to be eval­u­ated con­stantly. Our Tiger Task Force has been put in place to help con­ser­va­tion efforts and pro­tect the last remain­ing wild tigers
Dr. Alan Rabi­nowitz, CEO of Panthera »

Despite their pre­car­i­ous future tigers can still be saved. Pan­thera has recently hired renowned tiger sci­en­tist and con­ser­va­tion­ist, Dr. John Goodrich as the Senior Tiger Pro­gram Direc­tor to help steer the Task Force, who will pro­vide tech­ni­cal exper­tise to field sites across Asia. Goodrich joins Panthera’s ranks with 25 years of expe­ri­ence on applied research on car­ni­vore biol­ogy and con­ser­va­tion specif­i­cally on the Amur, or Siber­ian, tiger (Pan­thera tigris altaica), mon­i­tor­ing pop­u­la­tions and threats, man­ag­ing human-​carnivore con­flict and car­ni­vore capture/​anesthesia. He has spent sig­nif­i­cant time train­ing young con­ser­va­tion­ists, and has authored/​co-​authored over 80 sci­en­tific and 40 pop­u­lar arti­cles on tigers, Amur leop­ards, Asian black bears, brown bears, and Eurasian lynx. “He is one of the world’s lead­ing and most accom­plished tiger biol­o­gists and a ter­rific asset to our team,” Rabi­nowitz says.

In addi­tion to pro­vid­ing tech­ni­cal exper­tise in pro­tect­ing and mon­i­tor­ing tiger pop­u­la­tions, Pan­thera will pro­vide grants, through the STF-​Panthera col­lab­o­ra­tion, to sup­port con­ser­va­tion efforts by local and inter­na­tional part­ners to carry out the Tigers For­ever strat­egy. Panthera’s Tiger Task Force will be vis­it­ing exist­ing and future Tigers For­ever sites, pro­vid­ing assis­tance, and ensur­ing that part­ners are car­ry­ing out the needed activ­i­ties to achieve their shared and larger goal of secur­ing a future for tigers.

In 2006, Dr. Rabi­nowitz, in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Panthera’s Board mem­ber, J. Michael Cline, and a group of the world’s fore­most experts on tigers from the Wildlife Con­ser­va­tion Soci­ety, includ­ing Goodrich, launched the Tigers For­ever pro­gram to increase tiger num­bers at key sites by 50% over ten years.

This announce­ment of Panthera’s Tiger Task Force comes at the heels of the 6th annual Tigers For­ever meet­ing held in Bangkok and attended by a suite of part­ners from the Wildlife Con­ser­va­tion Soci­ety, Fauna & Flora Inter­na­tional, Zoo­log­i­cal Soci­ety of Lon­don, Aaranyak, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Ser­vice, the Amer­i­can Museum of Nat­ural His­tory and other organ­i­sa­tions. This annual con­fer­ence con­venes groups who are util­is­ing the Tigers For­ever strat­egy, or who wish to do so, to analyse the most recent find­ings on tiger pop­u­la­tions, share con­ser­va­tion strate­gies, mile­stones and chal­lenges and strate­gi­cally pri­ori­tise what is needed on the ground, now, to save tigers.

View Panthera’s Tiger Info­graphic.

About Pan­thera

Pan­thera, founded in 2006, is the world’s lead­ing organ­i­sa­tion devoted exclu­sively to the con­ser­va­tion of wild cats and their ecosys­tems. Util­is­ing the exper­tise of the world’s pre­mier cat biol­o­gists, Pan­thera devel­ops and imple­ments global con­ser­va­tion strate­gies for the largest, most imper­iled cats — tigers, lions, jaguars, and snow leop­ards. Rep­re­sent­ing the most com­pre­hen­sive effort of its kind, Pan­thera works in part­ner­ship with local and inter­na­tional NGOs, sci­en­tific insti­tu­tions, local com­mu­ni­ties and gov­ern­ments around the globe.

About Tigers For­ever

Launched in 2006 after decades of con­tin­u­ing tiger declines, Tigers For­ever is chang­ing the face of tiger con­ser­va­tion. Tigers For­ever makes a unique com­mit­ment to increase tiger num­bers at key sites by at least 50% over a 10-​year period by relent­lessly attack­ing the most crit­i­cal threats to tigers — poach­ing of tigers and their prey. Util­is­ing rig­or­ous sci­ence to main­tain con­stant vig­i­lance on con­ser­va­tion efforts and on the tiger itself, this trans­for­ma­tive pro­gram is the only one of its kind to guar­an­tee suc­cess — the recov­ery of the wild tiger.

The above news item is reprinted from mate­ri­als avail­able at Pan­thera. Orig­i­nal text may be edited for con­tent and length.

(Source: Pan­thera press release, 12.09.2012)

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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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