Tiger `rescue plan` to be drafted in Indonesia

Experts from 13 "tiger-range nations" will draft a rescue plan to save the big cats from extinction.

Jakarta: Representatives from 13 "tiger-range countries" will draft a global recovery plan at a meeting in Indonesia next week in a bid to rescue the big cats from extinction.

The plan to be drafted on the Indonesian resort island of Bali will be used as the basis for discussion at a "tiger summit" scheduled to be held in St. Petersburg, Russia, from September 15 to 18.

"We hope the Bali meeting will generate a strong draft Global Tiger Recovery Programme," Indonesian Forestry Ministry conservation director Darori said in a statement released by environmental group WWF late Tuesday.

"This will demonstrate our desire and resolve to come up with solutions to address the threats faced by the world’s remaining wild tiger population -- including those faced by Indonesia’s Sumatran tiger -- as well as double their population by 2022."

Two of Indonesia`s three tiger species are already extinct -- the Javan and Balinese -- with only around 400 Sumatran tigers left 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 Monday to Wednesday next week will hear details of each country`s tiger protection plans and funding proposals, officials said.

Indonesian conservation official Harry Santoso said Jakarta would ask for more than 175 million dollars in foreign aid to implement its plan to double the Sumatran tiger population to 800 by 2022.

"If we do nothing, tigers around the world, including Indonesia, will be extinct by 2035," he said.
"Our programme will focus on mitigation of human-animal conflict and law enforcement to stop tiger poaching. We will impose stricter punishments for criminals," he said, adding that habitats would also be protected.
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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