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INTRODUCTION


As recently as one hundred years ago, more than 100,000 wild tigers roamed the forests and grasslands of Asia. Today, fewer than 3,200 remain. In 2006 the world’s leading tiger experts came together from Panthera and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) in India to resolve why tiger numbers were continuing to plummet, despite years of seemingly robust efforts to save them. To be effective, tiger conservationists needed a razor-sharp focus on activities that would mitigate the most critical threats to tigers; which led to the creation of the Tigers Forever.


THE PROBLEM


Tigers today occupy only 7% of their historic range. The decline is being driven by these primary threats:


• Wild tigers are being hunted to meet the demands of the illegal wildlife trade market; and are also persecuted by villagers who take retaliatory measures to protect their livestock.


• Tiger prey, like deer and boar, has been over hunted by local people


• Tiger habitat is increasingly under threat from agricultural developments, especially monocultures like palm oil plantations.


THE SOLUTION


Tigers Forever (TF) makes the unique commitment to increase tiger numbers by at least 50% at key sites throughout Asia over a 10-year period by mitigating the most critical threats to tigers, and improving the effectiveness of conservation actions. This strategy for tiger recovery has been developed over the past five years in long term WCS field sites in India, Myanmar, Thailand, Lao PDR, Malaysia and Indonesia ,where there is a high potential to increase numbers of tigers and prey. Resources are focused on the mitigation and elimination of human threats, and on the monitoring of tiger and prey populations.


B E


METHODS


The steps involved in implementing TF are: • Identify site where potential exists to increase tiger and prey numbers.


• Delineate smaller, core area (3,000 – 5,000km2) that can be protected given financial and human resources and government-buy in.


• Core area must be embedded within larger landscape (10,000 –25,000km2) that can hold a growing, and dispersing number of tigers.


• Conduct threats assessment to determine where and how to focus efforts.


• Scientifically assess current status of tiger and prey numbers and determine baselines utilizing camera trapping, and / or occupancy modeling.


• Design and implement interventions that will mitigate key threats, such as: Increase number and effectiveness of patrol teams and park guards. Weapon confiscation and stricter enforcement of anti-poaching and forest use laws.


• Annually monitor impacts of threat mitigation, such as: Numbers of arrests made. Numbers of weapons or snares confiscated. Encounters with poachers.


• Scientifically monitor tiger and prey populations on an annual or biannual basis. • Once core area is secured, expand efforts to larger landscape


• Begin to address long-term, less immediate threats, and consider issues of connectivity.


Learn how you can help Tigers right now! www.panthera.org © Andy Rouse / Panthera


NEXT STEPS


In 2011-12 Panthera is funding TF activities in Lao PDR, Malaysia and Myanmar and is extending support to the Russian Far East with WCS and into Northeast India with Aranyak and WII. Tigers Forever, the best chance for saving wild tigers, can only be taken to scale if adopted by local governmental and non- governmental partners, who are equally dedicated to saving tigers. And Panthera will do whatever we can to help sites enact the Tigers Forever strategy.


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LITERATURE CITED: Dinerstein, E.; C. Loucks, E. Wikramanayake, J. Ginsberg, E. Sanderson, J. Forrest, G. Bryja, A. Heydlauff, et al. The Fate of Wild Tigers. Bioscience. Vol. 57, No 6. pp. 508-514.Karanth, K. U., Nichols, J. D. and Kumar, N. S. 2004. Photographic sampling of elusive mammals in tropical forests. Pages 229-247 in Sampling rare or elusive species. (Editor: W. L. Thompson). Island Karanth, K. U., Kumar, N. S. and Nichols, J. D. 2002. Field surveys: Estimating absolute densities of tigers using capture-recapture sampling. Pages 139-152 in Monitoring Tigers and their Prey: A manual for researchers, managers and conservationists in tropical Asia (Editors: K. U. Karanth and J. D. Nichols). Centre for Wildlife Studies, Bangalore, India. Karanth, K.U., N.S. Kumar, V. Srinivas, and A. Gopalaswamy. 2008. Revised monitoring framework for Tigers Forever-Panthera sites. Wildlife Conservation Society, India. Linkie, M., G. Guillera-Arroita, J. Smith, and D.M. Rayan. 2010. Monitoring tigers with confidence. Integrative Zoology 5, no. 4: 342-350 Stokes, E.J. 2010. Improving effectiveness of protection efforts in tiger source sites: Developing a framework for law enforcement using MIST. Integrative Zoology 5, no. 4: 363-377. Walston, J.; J.G Robinson, E. L. Bennett, U. Breitenmoser, G.A.B Fonseca, et al. 2010 Bringing the Tiger Back from the Brink—The Six Percent Solution. PLoS Biol 8 (9): e1000485. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1000485


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