New Delhi: A report released by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and other international organisations and inter-governmental panel Global Tiger Forum on Wednesday, revealed the seriousness of the existential threat faced by tigers across 11 countries in the world, saying that of 112 tiger habitats across Asia and Russia, only 13 percent of tiger conservation areas meet global standards.
As many as 85 percent of tiger habitats lacked patrol staff, says the report.
Tigers are one of the most poached and most hunted animals in the world, which has led their population to be listed as 'endangered species'.
Aiming at doubling the number of wild tigers by 2020 as adopted at the St Petersburg 'Tiger Summit' in 2010, CA|TS is a set of criteria which allows authorities in tiger areas to check if their management will lead to successful tiger conservation, through 17 critical management activities.
"Despite the fact that poaching is one of the greatest threats to big cats, 85 percent of the areas surveyed do not have staff capacity to patrol areas effectively, and 61 percent of such areas in Southeast Asia have very limited anti-poaching enforcement.
"Low investment from governments in Southeast Asia was said to be one reason for the lack of management of these supposedly protected areas", it added.
As of 2016, the world has an estimated 3,890 free roaming or wild tigers, with at least 2,226 in India (2014 census) and remaining in Russia (433), China (7 or less), Nepal (198), Bhutan (103), Bangladesh (106), Thailand (189), Malaysia (250), Indonesia (371), Vietnam (less than 5) and Laos (2). Cambodia is stripped of its tiger population while there is no data for Myanmar.
The report said that basic needs such as enforcement against poaching, engaging local communities, and managing people-wildlife conflicts remain weak for all the areas surveyed.
The report said half of the assessed sites (52.5 percent) report fairly strong management, although improvements are needed. As many as 35 percent, mostly in Southeast Asia, have relatively weak management.
"Ineffective management of tiger conservation areas leads to tiger extinction... long-term investment in tiger conservation areas is absolutely essential, and this is a responsibility that must be led by tiger range governments," said S.P Yadav, Assistant Secretary-General, Global Tiger Forum.
The report said while all the sites surveyed in countries like Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Nepal, and Russia have management plans, tiger areas in Southeast Asia like Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, and Thailand do not.
"Funding is urgently needed, particularly for many tiger areas in Southeast Asia to support the recovery of its tiger population," said Michael Blazer, Chair of the Executive Committee of CA|TS.
Till date, Lansdowne forest division in Uttarakhand in India, Chitwan National Park in Nepal, and Sikhote-Alin Nature Reserve in Russia have been awarded the CA|TS status.
(With IANS inputs)