Jun 14, 2017

Moving beyond the world's ambivalence to save wild tigers

Raising funds for the protection of wild tigers is tough. These magnificent cats - cited as among the world's favourite animals and surely one of nature’s most exquisite creations - are suffering from a catastrophic ambivalence as the world takes it eye off the crisis that they face. Numbers have crashed from 100,000 in 1900 to a highly vulnerable c.3,500 - 3,900 today. Human expansion continues to destroy their forest homes and deplete their prey, driving them into ever decreasing territories where conflict with other tigers and humans leads to more losses. Add to this the continuing illegal trade in tiger parts for home decor, amulets, trinkets and ineffective medicines and any hope for the future survival of the wild tiger seems misplaced.

But, giving in to the spiralling negativity of those who say extinction is a natural consequence of evolution is not an option. They cannot possibly understand what is at stake.

Tigers are forest dwellers; ambush predators that rely on cover to stalk their prey. Without forests there can be no tigers. And, where you find trees and rivers and herds of grazers you find a healthy eco-system managed - like the sun amid the stars - by the presence of tigers. They regulate the herbivores ensuring that overgrazing doesn't occur - that over large herds of deer don't break down the river banks and ravage the forests. Remove the tiger and the forests will suffer. Remove the forests and we all suffer.

Some of us have been lucky enough to experience a forest full of hidden tigers, felt true primal fear and the electricity that crackles through our bloodstream as the alarm calls of other animals signal the coming of a tiger. Some may have witnessed the emergence of the amber eyed cat with its liquid grace and its extraordinary, elegant strength. To see a tiger in the wild is a privilege - it fills you with awe and reverence. And, for all these reasons and a thousand more we must come together to save the tiger.

With no notable Royal to champion its cause the tiger struggles to attract the media attention enjoyed by the elephant and rhino. Securing support and raising awareness has never been more critical.

The David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation and its TigerTime Campaign are based on the principle that it is only through the collective actions of like-minded individuals that change can be brought about. As Mahatma Gandhi said 'be the change you want to see in the world'.

As the monsoon season closes India’s national parks to tourists we should remember that the tigers are still there and that the poachers are not far behind.

It is thanks to your amazing support that we can fund the park rangers throughout the year. Their work to protect precious tiger populations continues whatever the weather and so must ours.

If you have donated to support our work in Kaziranga there is still something more that you can do to help protect wild tigers; spread the word. Tell your friends and families, your work colleagues and your business partners that unless we come together to raise awareness for this astonishing cat they will be gone … and with them, the living, breathing forests that keep us all alive. Please share this GlobalGiving update and the project it supports - it is only by our collective actions that we will be able to save the tiger.

Thank you.

May 21, 2017

New discovery means stepping up our tiger protection!

Rare Indo-Chinese tigers caught on camera
Rare Indo-Chinese tigers caught on camera

We are thrilled to report that a recent scientific survey has confirmed the presence of the world's second breeding population of rare Indo-Chinese tigers (Panthera tigris corbetti). What's more, camera traps set during the survey have provided us with the first photographic evidence of tiger cubs in this area of eastern Thailand.

Today, with just 221 Indo-Chinese tigers estimated to remain in two Asian countries - Thailand and Myanmar - the new findings could be crucial to the survival of this subspecies.

While numbers from the study are small - with an estimated density of 0.63 tigers per square kilometre - the news is hugely welcome. It gives a glimmer of hope that this increasingly rare cat can and does survive in some of the most challenging landscapes and that your funding is making a difference to tiger survival.

If we are to ensure the survival of Thailand's tigers now, more than ever, we must work together to protect the forest homes of these incredible big cats. With your help we can continue to fund vital anti-poaching patrols and wildlife monitoring as well as provide the training and equipment that rangers need to do their job. Knowing that you are supporting these brave men and women on the frontline of tiger conservation gives them a much needed boost to morale as they continue to work in some of the world's most hostile forests. 

   

Mother and cubs check the camera traps
Mother and cubs check the camera traps
May 13, 2017

Creating new protected areas for snow leopards

Mother and cubs at a waterhole
Mother and cubs at a waterhole

It's just over a year since supporters of this programme helped create a new Nature Reserve for snow leopards in Mongolia. This amazing achievement, which saw the Tost Mountains in Mongolia's South Gobi become the first ever reserve created specifically for snow leopards, is a huge step forward for the protection of the endangered snow leopard. But, the real work is only just beginning.

Now that Tost is a Nature Reserve it means new opportunities and challenges for the region. That's why, right now, we're strengthening our focus and energy on the area. 

Eco-camps for children have been  helping youngsters explore the area, teaching them about the reserve's snow leopards and ecology so that they have a better understanding of the importance of the area and a knowledge that they can take home and share. New ranger skills training also means that the team have improved their monitoring and patrolling in Tost as they maintain their vigil to protect the rare and elusive snow leopard. 

Also, within the 8,163 sq km, there are around 12 licenses for mining exploration and two active mining sites. How to address these licenses with the help of local and national government is one of the top priorities. Mining is a major concern for conservationists in this part of the world but with the help of local communities, government support and funding to maintain community programmes and lobbying we know that we can address these issues and find a sustainable balance.

As in most areas of conservation there is still much work to do, including boundary demarcation, expanded wildlife surveys and increased collaboration with the communities living in and using Tost. But, we're grateful for the success we've achieved so far and glad to have you with us to make Tost a powerful new Protected Area for one of the world's most beautiful and endangered big cats. 

Thank you to everyone who has helped us - and Mongolia's snow leopards - so far. With yor help we hope to expand these areas even futher, ensuring the long-term survival of the species.

Camera trapped in the mountains c.SLT
Camera trapped in the mountains c.SLT
 
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