Dipping tiger tally cause for concern in several Asian nations

Even as India hopes to improve its big cat tally from 1,411, their number has now declined.

New Delhi: Even as India hopes to improve
its big cat tally from the present 1,411, their number has now
declined drastically in tiger range countries such as Nepal,
Vietnam and Cambodia due to poaching and other reasons.

At a two-day meeting of the Global Tiger Forum (GTF)
beginning today, the representatives from these nations
discussed thread-bare the issues confronting tiger
conservation and underlined the need for trans-boundary
cooperation to check poaching.

They also expressed concerns that habitat loss, unabated
smuggling of animal parts and bones and declining prey base
continued to take toll on the tiger population which is now
estimated to be less than 3,000 worldwide.

Wildlife warden of Hukang Tiger Reserve in Myanmar, Myint
Maung said the number of tigers in the sanctuary has declined
to less than 100 because of killing of preys by hunters for
human consumption or illegal trading in the area.

The tiger reserve in northernmost Kachin state covers an
area of about 22,000 square kilometres, and is claimed the
largest of its kind in the world where two kinds of Bengal and
Indochina tigers are found.

He also pointed that there was acute shortage of human
resources to protect tigers.

Nepal Forest Minister Deepak Bohara said his government
has joined hands with China for the first time to promote
cooperation in the field of biodiversity conservation,
management of forest resources and protection of wildlife.

"Now there will be better coordination to keep a tab on
poachers smuggling tiger parts and bones to China where they
are used to feed traditional medicinal market," he added.

Voung Tien Manch, Scientific and Cooperation Officer from
Vietnam, said that in the last five decades tiger numbers have
decreased to 50. "We have 95 tigers in captive including zoos
which are managed under strict regulations for non-commercial
purpose," he added.

Tiger expert and National Tiger Conservation Authority
Member K Ulas Karanth gave detailed presentation on the
efficacy of the camera trapping system in identifying the
number of tigers as well their prey base. He along with Qamar
Qureshi from Wildlife Institute of India underlined the need
for connectivity between tiger landscape for their survival.

A tiger census is presently being conducted in tiger
reserves across the country and results are expected to be
announced by the year-end.

"GTF being the only inter-governmental body for tigers
is ideally suited to offer a new paradigm for conserving this
species among its range countries. We have no time to lose
since the wild tiger population is at its tipping point," said
Ravi Singh, Secretary General of World Wildlife Fund for
Nature (WWF).


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