International tiger protection forum held in St. Petersberg
The International Tiger Conservation Forum (also called the “Tiger Forum”) kicks off today! Between 21-24 November, leaders from 13 countries will assemble in St. Petersburg to attend Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s Tiger Forum. The goal of the summit is to finalize a plan to double the wild tiger population by 2022.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and government leaders from Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand, and Vietnam will sign the St. Petersburg Declaration affirming their resolve to save wild tigers from extinction.
Held in the United Nations Year of Biodiversity and the Asian Year of the Tiger, the Forum will endorse a Global Tiger Recovery Program of urgent and comprehensive national and international actions to double the number of tigers across their range, from 3,200 today to 7,000 by 2022, the next Year of the Tiger.
Many would say it is now or never for wild tigers. In the past century, tiger numbers plummeted from 100,000 to about 3,200 and continue to fall. In an organized transnational illegal wildlife trade, criminals earn large profits feeding illicit consumer demand for tiger parts and products; they take advantage of poor people living around tiger reserves to recruit poachers. People hunt the prey tigers need to survive. Adverse human activities, including commercial agriculture and infrastructure development, have replaced vast expanses of the tiger’s habitat and threaten to take it all.
Typically in most countries, the responsibility for wildlife conservation belongs to a single ministry or agency that is often underfunded. But counteracting the diverse threats to wild tigers will take the additional participation of many others, including those devoted to finance, the criminal justice system, land-use planning, and infrastructure development. Public support for protecting tigers and their landscapes is also essential. Thus, the Forum is important because it will signal to officials that political will and commitment exists at the highest level to eliminate these threats before the wild tiger’s extinction become inevitable.
(From Global Tiger Initiative)