News Stories

Another Extinction

Tiger's roar may soon be a memory - Tigers will soon join the group of animals (and humans?) that may soon be seen no more. But some researchers have used hidden cameras to film some of them in surprising places.

Most of the world's last remaining tigers--long decimated by overhunting, logging, and wildlife trade--are now clustered in just 6% of their available habitat. 42 'source sites' scattered across Asia that are now the last hope and greatest priority for the conservation and recovery of the world's largest cat.

Joe Walston, Director of the Wildlife Conservation Society's Asia Program, says, "In the past, overly ambitious and complicated conservation efforts have failed to do the basics: prevent the hunting of tigers and their prey. With 70% of the world's wild tigers in just 6% of their current range, efforts need to focus on securing these sites as the number one priority for the species. While the scale of the challenge is enormous, the complexity of effective implementation is not." Fewer than 3,500 tigers remain in the wild, of which only about 1,000 are breeding females. Walston and his team identified 42 tiger source sites, which were defined as sites that contain breeding populations of tigers and have the potential to seed the recovery of tigers across wider landscapes. If they can secure these, they can save the tiger. But a newly-discovered tiger site took tiger researchers by surprise.

A population of tigers has been filmed high in the Himalayas in Bhutan by a TV camera crew. Researchers suspected tigers were surviving at these incredible high altitudes of up to 13,000 feet from reports by local villagers, who spotted them. In BBC News, Matt Walker quotes wildlife cameraman Gordon Buchanan as saying, "The fact they can live here is just so important, for tigers in the wild, for their future."

Researcher Alan Rabinowitz says, "We know how to save tigers. We have the knowledge and the tools to get the job done. What we are lacking is political will and financial support. The price tag to save one of the planet's great iconic species is not a high one."

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Art credit: Dreamstime.com

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