Tiger countries meet in Indonesia to map rescue

Experts from 13 "tiger-range nations" met in Indonesia Tuesday to draft a global recovery plan.

Nusa Dua, Indonesia: Representatives from 13 "tiger-range countries", including India, met in Indonesia Tuesday to draft a global recovery plan ahead of a summit in Russia in September.

"We`re gathering here because we share concerns about the sustainability of tigers," Indonesian Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan said in an opening address to delegates on the resort island of Bali.

"It is alarming that out of the nine tiger subspecies in the world, only six are remaining."

The plan to be drafted in Bali will be used as the basis for discussion at a "tiger summit" in St Petersburg from September 15 to 18.

"In Indonesia alone, only the Sumatran tiger still exists, while the other two subspecies have become extinct," the minister said, referring to Javan and Balinese tigers
which were wiped out in the 1980s and 1940s respectively.

He blamed a "lack of law enforcement" for the continuing losses of Sumatran tigers, which number only about 400 in the wild.

Several are killed every year by poachers and villagers who compete with them for dwindling forest resources.

WWF says the global, wild population of tigers of all species has fallen from about 100,000 to an estimated 3,200 over the past century.

Countries invited to attend the St Petersburg summit are Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia, Thailand and Vietnam.

The pre-summit talks in Bali from today to Wednesday will hear details of each country`s tiger protection plans and funding proposals.
Indonesian conservation official Harry Santoso said ahead of the talks that Jakarta would ask for more than 175 million dollars in foreign aid to implement its plan to double the
Sumatran tiger population by 2022.

The plan focuses on mitigation of human-animal conflict and better law enforcement, including stiffer penalties, to stop poaching and forest destruction.
Human-animal conflicts are a rising problem in the massive archipelago as forests are destroyed for timber or to make way for palm oil, forcing animals such as elephants and
tigers into closer contact with people.

Bureau Report

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